Ohio Division I Power Rankings: No. 1 - No. 5

By Chris Valentine and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Director and Senior Writer 

1. Moeller HS
The defending state champions return to hold down the top spot in the PBR Ohio Division I Power Rankings. While news broke this week that standout junior Zach Shannon (Ohio State recruit) will not be with the team this spring, the Crusader lineup is still loaded with some of the state's best talent. Junior SS Riley Mahan (Kentucky recruit), senior 1B/DH Spencer Iacovone (Marshall recruit), senior IF Max Foley (Evansville recruit), senior OF/IF Justin Wampler (Dayton recruit), senior IF Pat McAlpine (Ashland recruit), senior C Cameron Whitehead (Furman recruit), and several newcomers including junior LHP/OF Zach Logue, junior IF Cole Proia, and sophomore IF Josh Hollander headline a talented Moeller lineup. The pitching staff only returns 14 innings from the 2012 staff, so Coach Tim Held will be looking to Logue, senior RHP Andrew Cobb (Lake Erie recruit), and junior LHP/1B TJ Storer. Keep an eye out for 2016 LHP Nick Bennett. Coach Held doesn't typically pull up freshman to varsity, but the 6-3, 190-pound lefty may make a push for innings if the situation presents itself.

2. Mason HS zeuch
The Comets may have one of the top pitching staff's in the Midwest, lead by 6-foot-7, 210-pound RHP pitcher TJ Zeuch (Pittsburgh recruit) and 6-foot-5, 210-pound RHP pitcher Andrew McDonald (Virginia Tech recruit). Fellow senior RHP pitcher Seth Bowles (Ohio Dominican recruit) and sophomore RHP Rodney Hutchison figures to play important roles in the rotation as the Comets suffered a tough loss when junior RHP/SS Chris Martin (Kent State recruit) recently tore his ACL. The infield returns plenty of talent with all-area SS Connor McVey (Cincinnati recruit), senior IF Billy Highfill, and senior IF R.J. Thompson. Junior catcher Joey Thomas assumes the duties behind the plate while senior Lee Sponseller and junior TJ Dunn figure to play key roles in the outfield. 

polandNo. 3 Pickerington North HS 
The Panthers have one of the deepest and experienced lineups in the state from top to bottom. Senior Matt Poland (Dayton recruit) will anchor the defense from behind the plate and play an important role in the middle of the batting order. Senior outfielders Ryan Miller (Miami recruit) and Tyler Pagano (Oakland recruit) provide instant offense and athletic presence in the outfield Junior SS Justin Childers is a returning starter as is sophomore OF/RHP Logan Giddings. The pitching rotation figures to be anchored by Pagano, Giddings, and senior RHP Kyle Montell (Tiffin recruit). By the end of the regular season, Pickerington North figures to be battle tested after playing division opponents Gahanna Lincoln, Grove City, and Pickerington Central.

No. 4 St. Ignatius HS
Upholding tradition, St. Ignatius returns a talented squad under head coach Brad Ganor. Last year’s squad finished 20-10, and the pieces are in place to improve in 2013. With six returning starters in the everyday lineup and six pitchers from the pitching staff, the Wildcats will feature one of Northeast Ohio’s deepest, most talented rosters. Three seniors, IF Dan Rowbottom (Illinois recruit), RHP Kyle Pluta (Tiffin recruit), and LHP/OF Tom Rolle  (Ashland recruit), are already committed to play college baseball and junior Nick Longo has made an early pledge to Miami of Ohio. Keep an eye on junior OF/RHP Nick Fabian and speedy junior IF Quillan Austira. Going against the grain, the Wildcats will enter their second year using wood bats instead of aluminum bats like their opponents.

No. 5 Walsh Jesuit HScassidy
While Coach Kaczmar's squad only features seven seniors from last year's squad, he has whopping 22 returning varsity letter winners. Year after year, the Warriors simply reload. Just take a look at their incredible run from 2006 to 2010. The school finished as the 2006 Ohio State Champions, the 2007 State Poll Championship, the 2008 Ohio State Champions, the 2009 Ohio State Runner-up, and the 2010 Ohio State Runner-up. This year's squad features three returning pitchers from last year's rotation. 

The team’s top senior recruit is catcher Cassidy Brown, who is headed to Loyola Marymount. Junior IF Nate Romans gave an early pledge to The Ohio State University while senior LHP Joe Mockbee is headed to the University of Cincinnati. Meanwhile, sophomore RHP Ryan Feltner, one of the top-ranked prospects for his age in Ohio, already has national-caliber baseball scholarship offers. Followed closely behind are several highly touted sophomores and freshmen, including LHP Ty Shoaff and potential sensation IF/RHP Christopher Machamer. Don't sleep on unsigned senior RHP Mark Mittiga and senior RHP Bennet Stuffel