Prep Baseball Report

Ohio Division I Power Rankings: No. 11 - No. 15

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

No. 11 Thomas Worthingtonpauley
After a heartbreaking regional semi-final loss in 2012, Thomas Worthington is one of the top-rated Division I teams in the state this spring with the core of their roster returning. As always, coach Gussler will have his squad prepared and ready to compete with the best that Central Ohio has to offer. The Cardinals' one-two pitching punch of junior RHP Nick Pauley and unsigned senior LHP/OF Roscoe Blackburn is likely the best in Central Ohio this spring. The rest of the lineup is anchored by returning starters, including unsigned senior SS/RHP Ben Miller, junior C/DH Kegan Lanter and senior OF Emerson Keppler (Mount Union recruit).

schuermannNo. 12 Lakota West 
Last year, Lakota West finished with a record of 18-2, good for a second-place finish behind Mason in the Greater Miami Conference. This year coach Dreisbach’s squad returns five returning starters and four returning pitchers. With a surge of young talent, the Firebirds will be looking to fill the gaps and contend in a talented southwestern region. Last spring, junior LHP Grant Schuermann logged 50 innings while compiling a 2.64 ERA and 48 strikeouts. Junior switch-hitting outfielder Blaine Griffiths (Xavier recruit) is one of the top offensive threats in the Cincinnati area. Two-way sophomore Austin Allinger will be a threat on the mound and at the plate. 

No. 13 Centervillemroz
Year in and year out, the Elks are consistently one of the top teams in the Miami Valley region. This year's squad will rely on pitching as its strength. The team features three talented senior arms in RHP/OF Brian Mroz (Eastern Kentucky recruit), LHP/1B Nick Bertram (Miami recruit) and RHP/SS Derek Hendrixson (Heidelberg recruit). Behind the plate, Centerville will be led by veteran receiver Sean Murphy (Wright State recruit). 

LauerNo. 14 Grafton Midview
The Middies will be under the leadership of first-year head coach Scott Jalowiec, who previously served as the head coach of the junior varsity squad since 2004. Coach Jalowiec inherits a squad that features the state's top class of 2013 prospect, LHP/1B Eric Lauer (Kent State recruit). With Lauer on the mound, Midview will be difficult to beat. Talented junior RHP/SS Cody Callaway, who already holds several Division I scholarship offers in both football and baseball, and unsigned senior RHP/IF Derrick Stephenson, who missed last season due to Tommy John surgery, provide excellent pitching depth. The rest of the lineup features experienced seniors such as catcher Steven Frye, infielder Ryan Smith and outfielder Tyler Stephenson.

No. 15 Olentangy Orange Ptrick

Last season, the Pioneers fell in the regional finals to Grove City. With key losses such as RHP/SS Luke Wolford (Dayton recruit), OF Cole McCurry (Tiffin recruit) and C/RHP Brai Beckel, coach Callaghan finds himself looking for several underclassmen to step up and fill holes in the lineup and pitching staff. The top returning arms include senior RHP/SS Paul Trick (Gardner Webb recruit) and sophomore RHP/IF Tyler Johnson, who was up to 87 mph this past summer. Defensively, the Pioneers feature senior 1B Brady Harris (Valapraiso recruit), junior C/RHP Alec McCurry and junior OF/RHP Matt Smith