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

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

No. 1 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

Entering this spring, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy is a heavy favorite in Division III. Coming off a 22-7 season (bowing out in the district finals with a loss to Hamilton Badin), coach Larry Redwine’s squad not only grew with experience, but also with the addition of Cameron Varga, the region’s top-rated junior, and Ricky Silvestri, a middle of the order left-handed bat.

This year’s squad features six returning starters as well as five pitchers with varsity time. Given their experience at key positions, deep lineup and strong pitching staff, the sky is the limit for CHCA this spring.

Talented seniors include:  Jonathan Banks

  • RHP/SS/OF, Jacob Banks – The 6-3, 190-pound Miami recruit was first team all state last year and conference MVP after compiling a 6-0 record with a 0.57 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 59 strikeouts over 37 innings.
  • C/RHP, Jonathan Banks (pictured) – The 6-4, 190-pound backstop hit .344 last season. He shows a strong arm behind the plate and will help anchor the defense.
  • RHP, Evan Jelley – The talented righty is healthy after dealing with some health issues. As a sophomore Jelley was CHCA’s number one pitcher and last year was 6-2 with a 1.15 WHIP, 1.44 ERA, and compiled 44 strikeouts over 34 innings.
  • OF, Nick Weaver – Last year Weaver hit in the one, three and four spots in the order for CHCA while putting together a .342 average.

Talented juniors include:Cameron Varga

  • RHP/SS, Cameron Varga (pictured) – The 6-3, 205-pound University of North Carolina recruit has a fastball that gets up to 96 mph. The talented prospect originally gave a verbal commitment to the Florida Gators as an infield prospect, so don’t sleep on his skills in the infield or at the plate.
  • 3B/C, Kyle Davis – Last year Davis hit .530 with a .795 slugging percentage. He has continued to develop his skills and athleticism to position himself as a Division I recruit this spring and summer.
  • 2B/3B, Bobby Paola – The 5-9, 155-pound left-handed hitting infielder is one of the leaders of this talented team. He hit .338 in the two-hole last spring.
  • 1B/3B/RHP, Ricky Silvestri – The 6-0, 190-pound import from Arkansas is a corner infield type with a power bat from the left side.
  • RHP, Blake Swanger – The 6-3, 175-pound righty shows good development on the mound.

The 2015/2016 classes include:  Graham Lally

  • SS, Cameron Murray (2015) – The 5-10, 140-pound infielder started and lead off for CHCA last spring. He hit .417 while showing advanced infield skills for his age.
  • RHP/C/OF, Graham Lally (2015, pictured) – The versatile prospect figures to find a way into the everyday lineup.
  • RHP, Tommy Yates (2015) – The submarine pitcher has a low 80s fastball and will provide a different look on the mound.
  • C/OF, Chase Murray (2016) – The talented youngster is stuck behind Banks and Davis behind the plate, so he will likely find himself in the outfield so that Redwine can incorporate his speed and offensive abilities in the lineup.

No. 2 North Lewisburg Triad High School

Tre McIntyreExpectations are as high as ever for Triad High School this spring after finishing last season 19-11 before faltering in the district semifinals to Springfield Northwestern.

With two consecutive Ohio Heritage Conference titles in the bag, head coach Will Nichols and his squad are primed for their third straight championship. Eight players return to the starting lineup. But, even more important, Triad returns all of the key pieces to its pitching rotation. All of the pieces are in place for a successful Division III tournament run.

Class of 2013 includes: 

  • RHP/UTL, Colton Young – The 6-2, 180-pound righty earned second team All-State honors last season. He hit .441 with 29 RBIs while going 3-3 on the mound with a 2.47 ERA.
  • C/1B, Seth Collier – The 6-0, 180-pound prospect will be a three-year starter. Last year, he hit .321 with 20 RBIs.
  • SS, Auston Sanford – The 5-9, 180-pound prospect hit .304 last year.
  • RHP, Ryan Davis – The 6-1, 175-pound righty contributed 34 innings on the mound last year with a 3.04 ERA.

Class of 2014 includes: 

  • C/OF, Tre McIntyre (pictured) – The 6-0, 190-pound prospect hit .361 with six doubles, four triples, and a home run last year while earning all-league and area honors.
  • LHP, Doug Lowe – The 6-1, 180-pound southpaw went 9-2 with a 0.87 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 72 innings of work. He earned second team All-State honors as well as player of the year in the county.

The Cardinals also have Trent McIntyre who is regarded as one of the top freshman in the state of Ohio.


No. 3 Cincinnati Madeira High School

After a 24-7 season where the Madeira Mustangs outscored its opponents 265-122, head coach Jack Andrew BenintendiKuzniczci and the Mustangs are poised to compete for the Cincinnati Hills League title and make a successful tournament run. Madeira reached the regionals in 2012 before faltering to a talented Hamilton Badin squad.

The Mustangs are paced by the No. 4 ranked senior in Ohio, Andrew Benintendi (pictured), who is an Arkansas recruit. Benintendi (OF/P) hit .564 and had 10 home runs, 14 doubles, seven triples, 47 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. On the mound, he went 6-2 with 65 strikeouts and a 1.94 ERA. The talented two-way athlete also needs 80 at-bats to set the career at-bats record at the school and needs just three doubles to set that school mark. Zack JansenThe Razorback recruit already has career records for hits (156), runs (136) and stolen bases (74).

Illinois junior college Rend Lake recruit Zack Jansen (SS/P, pictured) hit .477 as a junior with four homers and a Cincinnati Hills League-leading 56 RBIs for the Mustangs. Jansen will be a four-year varsity starter for Madeira and also has been their starting football quarterback the past two seasons. The Warriors recruit needs just 15 RBIs to set the school career RBI mark

No. 4 Wheelersburg High SchoolWade Martin, freshman RHP Wheelersburg

The Pirates won the 2012 state championship in thrilling fashion.. read here...Wheelersburg (30-2 in 2012) has reached state four times in five years and looks poised to return in 2013 behind head coach Michael Estep, who is entering his 12th season and has a career record of 260-56, and the one-two punch on the mound of senior Derek Moore and sophomore Wade Martin (pictured). Martin was one out away from a perfect game while being the winning pitcher in the state championship game as a freshman. Other top prospects include juniors Dylan Miller (6-3, 175, catcher) and Garrett Carmichael (2B) and sophomore Michael Green (6-0, 155, OF/LHP).

No. 5 Carlisle High SchoolLevi Boyer

Carlisle returns eight starters and five pitchers from a 2012 squad that went 24-3 before bowing out in sectionals to Bishop Fenwick 6-5 in extra innings. The Indians are experienced and determined to repeat the success in the regular season, while making a successful tournament run.

A talented group of juniors highlight the strengths of the Indians 2013 team led by Alec Turner (3B, 5-10, 185, R-R, .487, 6 HR, 17 2B, 58 RBIs, 2nd Team All-Ohio). Other talented juniors include: Levi Boyer (C, 6-1, 200, R-R, .478 HR, 10 2B, 33 RBIs, threw out 13/16 steal attempts, picked off 7 base runners, 1st Team All-Southwest Ohio); Andrew Goodpaster (P/OF, 6-0, 160, R-R, .494, 44 H, 48 R, 15 SB, 6-1, 2.24 ERA, 1st Team All-Southwest Ohio); Josh Tarter (P/OF, 6-0, 180, L-R, 9-0, 2.11 ERA, 78 Ks, 2nd Team All-Southwest Ohio); and Skyler Kelly (SS, 6-0, 170, R-R, .438, 24 R, 22 RBIs, 2nd Team All-Southwest Ohio). Senior Evan Helton (1B, 6-3, 175, R-R, .389, 4 HR, 38 RBIs, 1st Team All-Southwest Ohio) adds leadership and pop in the middle of the lineup for the 2013 team.