Prep Baseball Report

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

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

No. 1 Wapakoneta

One word describes Wapakoneta’s baseball team: experienced. Coach Jeff Brandt and the Redskins return all 15 lettermen from last year’s Division II State Runner-Up (Loss to DeSales, read here). Coach Brandt is entering his 12th season at the helm and has a career record of 160-87-4.

Wapakoneta has their goals set towards Columbus, but before they go for another successful tournament run they will have to compete with the likes of Defiance, Lima Bath and Lima Shawnee in the tough Western Buckeye League. 

Class of 2013John Crawford

  • P/OF, John Crawford (10-0, 0.44 ERA, pictured) - The 6-2, 180-pound southpaw is the staff ace and roams the outfield.
  • SS, Josh Apple (.407 AVG, 22 R, 13 RBIs) - The 6-0, 160-pound prospect made some dazzling defensive plays in the Final Four. Also has a solid approach at the plate
  • P/1B, AJ Etzkorn (3-1, 1.86 ERA) - The 6-0, 185-pound lefty has touched as high as 82 mph on mound.
  • C, Bradon Schreiber (.300 AVG, 23 R, 16 RBIs) - The 6-1 and 170-pound catcher has upside with pop time of 1.98.
  • P/IF Brandon Miller (.341 AVG, 23 R, 26 RBIs).
  • IF/P Alex Koch (.341 AVG, 30 R, 15 RBIs).
  • UTIL/P Dom Campos (.433 AVG, 15 R, 10 RBIs).
  • OF, Andrew HinesChace Culver
  • OF, Dylan Knoch

Class of 2014

  • P, Chace Culver (5-4, 1.99 ERA, pictured) - The 6-3, 180-pound righty, is becoming one of the top arms in his class.
  • 1B/P Chandler Kaeck (.421 AVG, 10 RBIs).

No. 2 Tipp City Tippecanoe High School

Tipp City Tippecanoe has back-to-back regional appearances, but still has never made it to Columbus. After a 24-6 season in 2012 head coach Bruce Cahill has an experienced and hungry group of Red Devils poised for a Central Buckeye Conference championship and long tournament run. 

Class of 2013Steven Calhoun

  • LHP/1B, Steven Calhoun (University of Toledo commit, pictured) - 6-7, 210-pound southpaw with big imposing body. Has moderate arm speed through 3/4 slot with long backside arm extension. Fastball ranges 81-83 mph (topped 85 mph at a September showcase) with some late action. Shows spin on slurvy action curveball ranging 69-73 mph. Has good arm action on change (70-71 mph). Also showed knuckle ball with a little action (74 mph).
  • RHP, Carter Langdon (University of Dayton commit) - 6-4, 180-pound prospect with lanky, projectable frame. Rhythm type pitcher. Has good balance in delivery with high front side kick and upper 3/4 arm slot. Gets arm extensions. Fastball is fairly straight at 80-82 mph. Uses slurvy type breaking ball at 71-73 mph. Offensively, he is an aggressive hitter. Shows good hands and feet defensively with 78 mph arm strength across the diamond. Runs 7.2 60-yard dash. Hits from upright stance. Triggers hands from shoulder and gets bat head into zone. Needs to promote more lower half in swing for enhanced power.

Class of 2014

  • RHP/3B, Ben Hughes (pictured) - The 5-11, 160-pound righty shows Ben Hughesthe ability to hit spots and change speeds. He showed command of four pitches, including a changeup, curveball, and cutter. He uses a quick tempo and repeatability delivery. Throws through a high ¾ arm slot with quick arm action. Fastball shows good sink at 82-84 mph along with a 79-80 mph cut fastball that showed some good late life. His breaking ball serves as an effective out pitch at 68-70 mph with good 11/5 break and depth. His changeup is thrown near fastball arm speed and shows similar movement to his fastball at 76-77 mph. Shows good athleticism in the field as well. Potentially a third baseman or second baseman type. Ran a 7.27 60. Uses short arm action and quick release. Reached top velocity of 82 mph across the infield. Needs to continuing improving footwork. Tendency to get flat. Continues to make good strides at the plate. Starts with wide, slightly open stance. Utilizes leg kick trigger, which creates some timing issues. Shows quick bat speed through the zone (87 mph exit velocity off the tee).BJ Donathan
  • C/3B, BJ Donathan (pictured) - The 5-11, 190-pound catcher has improved his athleticism over the off-season and his catching skills after spending time with former Ohio State catcher Brian Manino. Behind the plate, he showed good footwork and a quick transfer. His pop times ranged between 1.98-2.00 with accurate throws on the bag. He reached a top velocity of 74 mph from the crouch. At the plate, he shows quick hands into the zone (85 mph exit velocity) with a slight uphill path to the ball.
  • SS/2B, Cameron Johnson - Very athletic, three-sport athlete. This 5-11, 160-pound infielder ran 7.27 60-yard dash. Shows good balance and hands with decent arm strength (75 mph). Projects better at this time as third baseman or offensive second baseman. Right-handed bat that hits from open stance. Triggers hands from shoulder with some bat speed into zone. Gets some lower half torque with good hand finish. Needs to keep consistent front side square. Interesting follow heading into the spring.

Class of 2015

  • LHP/OF, Cole Quillen - 5-10, 150-pound two way prospect. Quick arm speed through upper arm slot. Fastball shows some late life (82-84 mph). Has feel for slurvy tilt breaking ball (67-70 mph) with some arm side run on changeup (70-71 mph). Excellent hitting potential. Good bat speed from shoulder trigger. Has controlled upper-cut with definite power projection. Good hand finish and torque. Ran 7.28 60-yard dash with arm (84 mph) defensively. Will draw similar comparison to 2013 Virginia Tech recruit Tom Stoffel from Northmont. 

No. 3 Defiance High School

Defiance finished last season as the No. 1 ranked team in Division II with a 30-2, 9-0 WBL record. But the season was bittersweet after losing to Western Buckeye League foe Wapakoneta in the regional finals. Defiance did, however, tie a school record with the 30 wins, while capturing its sixth consecutive WBL championship and extending its unbeaten streak in the WBL to an astounding 59 games. Extending the WBL streak in 2013 will be a difficult task as the WBL is loaded with the likes of Wapakoneta, Lima Shawnee and Lima Bath.

Coach Tom Held is entering his 15th season at Defiance with an overall record of 355-58 at the school, and will have to reload after losing tons of talent to graduation in the likes of Anthony Kidston (9-0, 0.57 ERA, 121 Ks, 13 walks, .402, 4 home runs, 38 RBIs, 44 runs, 27 SBs), the staff ace who also played center field, has moved on to the University of Louisville; catcher Joe Gentile, who is at Hillsdale College (.374, 35 RBIs, 34 runs, 18 SBs); center fielder Shea Murray who is at The Ohio State University (.392, 22 RBIs, 19 SBs); shortstop Jacob Moore (.333, 23 RBIs, 18 SBs); pitcher Tyler Batt now at Ohio Northern University (8-0, 0.73 ERA); pitcher Taylor Cooper who is at Cornerstone University (1-0, 0.58 ERA); and DH Nick Vittorio (.200).

"The strength of the 2013 team should be team speed and a good 1-2 punch on the hill with Robbie Zeigler and Weston Rivers," stated Held. Zeigler has signed with the University of Kentucky and Rivers with Lincoln Trail College.

"We feel we will be able to put a lot of pressure on the defense this year with our team speed, especially at the top of the order," Held said. "The success this team experienced last summer by winning the ACME state will only benefit them. Offensively, the top of the order should be a strength for us."

Class of 2013Robert Zeigler

  • Robert Zeigler (RHP/1B) (pictured top) - 1st team all-WBL, all-District, all-State. 9-2 1.13 ERA, 87Ks, 62 IP, .442, 7 HR, 45 RBIs, 22 R, .811 SLG%.
  • Weston Rivers (LHP/1B) - 3-0 0.32 ERA, 21 IP.
  • Joe Keween (C/OF) - .301, 17 RBIs, 29 R.
  • Dom Romero (LF) - .468, .559 OBP.
  • Alek Smith (OF).
  • Austin Yant (P/1B).
  • Ethan Willitzer (P/IF).Austin Hancock
  • Mazen Kanouh (P).
  • Wade Verhoff (OF).
  • Drake Jimenez (IF).

Class of 2014

  • Austin Hancock (SS/RHP) (pictured mid) - .286, 14 SB, 19 RBIs.
  • Dom Gentile (3B/RHP) - .270 16 RBIs, 20 R, 11 SB.
  • Derek Turner (P/Util) (pictured bottom) - A promising looking RHP/IF.
  • Jacob Green (OF) - Talented outfield prospect.Derek Turner
  • Adam Schaffer (OF).

Class of 2015

  • Wes Detter (Util).
  • Gage Cordray (C/P).
  • Garrett Sierra.

Class of 2016

  • Shay Smiddy (RHP) - One to keep an eye on.


No. 4 Canton South High School

In 2012, Canton South finished with a 25-8 record and Northeastern Buckeye Conference championship title.

Despite losing last season’s senior leader Logan Bowles (Ohio State recruit) to graduation, the Wildcats return a young and talented lineup that is expected to be one of Northeast Ohio’s finest. Head Coach Trent Mcllvain returns six players in his everyday lineup as well as four pitchers in his rotation.

The Canton South squad is headlined by sophomore outfielder and left-handed pitcher DJ Wilson, who is nationally ranked in his class. Behind the plate, Coach Mcllvain returns sophomore Conner Thomson, who caught every game as a freshman. The pitching staff will rely on the likes of Wilson, sophomore Cody Stickel, and a handful of other underclassmen.

Class of 2013

  • OF, Noah Mallen

    dj wilson

Class of 2014

  • IF, Damon Wade
  • UTL, Preston May
  • OF, Alex Porter
  • RHP, Kendall Fowler
  • RHP, Jacob Newell 

Class of 2015

No. 5 West Holmes High Schoolsnyder

After losing in the Division II state semi-finals last spring, West Holmes has their eyes set on a return to Huntington.

With one of the state’s top 1-2 pitching combos in left-handed senior Gabe Snyder (Wright State recruit) and left-handed junior Butch Baird, West Holmes is set to repeat last season’s success.

With defending conference champion Ashland losing their top pitchers, West Holmes is set to compete with the Arrows and Orrville for a conference title and improve on an overall 23-7 record. Eight starters return to the everyday lineup along with three pitchers in the rotation.

Class of 2013

  • LHP/1B, Gabe Snyder – The 6-5, 210-pound two-way prospect is committed to Wright State.
  • 2B, Vayden Wood – The Muskingum recruit hit .400 last season.
  • SS, Keaton Leppla – The talented athlete is headed to college for football, but he looks to make an impact on the diamond after leading the team in RBIs last season.

Class of 2014Butch Baird

  • LHP/1B, Butch Baird – The 5-10, 170-pound southpaw is rated as one of the top prospects in his class and has already collected several Division I scholarship offers.
  • C/OF, Layne Perone
  • RHP/IF, Scott Troyer

Class of 2015

  • 3B/RHP, Levi Jones

Class of 2016

  • C/OF, AJ Race