Prep Baseball Report

Ohio Division III Power Rankings: No. 6 - No. 10

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

No. 6 Canton Central Catholic

Despite a 20-7 record in 2012, traditional power Canton Central Catholic Jake Krupardidn't make it to the districts for the first time in 18 years. Head coach Doug Miller and the Crusaders have had plenty of success in the 2000s though, reaching state five times and winning two state championships (2011, 2008). In 201,3 the Crusaders do not have the experience they usually do, but playing teams like St. Ed's, St. Ignatius, Perry, Massillon and Berlin Hiland will make the Crusaders one to watch come tournament time.

The Crusaders are led by seniors Jake Krupar (University of Toledo recruit, .333 AVG, 23 RBIs), Gunnar Smeyers (P/IF/C, .486 AVG, 25 RBIs, 3-2 on the mound with a 3.00 ERA) and Steven Montgomery (.263 AVG). Junior Shawn Jones (IF/P, .461 AVG) is a talented athlete, who unfortunately is coming off an ACL injury in football. Jones is expected to be ready to go and looks to continue his development. "We also have a nice sophomore and freshman class and I know there are some diamonds in the rough there," stated Miller. This includes freshman Jacob Vance.

Marcus Gunter

No. 7 LaGrange Keystone High School

Keystone finished the 2012 season with a tough extra innings loss to Youngstown Ursuline in the regional semifinals. Head coach Mark Clement and the Wildcats will be led by talented junior Marcus Gunter (RHP/OF). Other top players for Keystone include juniors Kendle Stiner (SS/RHP), Pierce Young (C/3B), Tyler Gullett (3B) and Colin Fitzgerald (OF/RHP). The Wildcats also have a couple of promising freshmen that are battling to make the varsity roster in Chris Sittinger (RHP/OF) and Shane Blankenship (OF/SS).

No. 8 Waynesville High SchooTy Blackl

Waynesville bowed out of the 2012 tournament in the districts to Hamilton Badin, and finished the season at 17-9. The Spartans return five starters and four pitchers for the 2013 season. Waynesville and head coach Tommy Begley will be led by seniors Ty Black (6-1, 180, Ohio University recruit) and Connor Combs (6-3, 210, Sinclair Community College recruit). Other top players include junior Wyatt Myers (5-11 205, LHP) and sophomore second baseman Troy Black (6-1, 205).


Zach Farmer

No. 9 Piketon High School

Piketon returns eight starters and four pitchers from a 22-9, 9-5 Scioto Valley Conference 2012 season. The Redstreaks fell to eventual state champion Wheelersburg in the regional semifinals and has high hopes for the 2013 season. Ohio State recruit Zach Farmer (No. 3 ranked player in Ohio) had a 1.60 ERA, while batting .514 last season and is being counted on to guide the Redstreaks to a long tournament run. Seniors Brice Bennett (RHP/1B), Bryan Robinson (C) and Issac Brabson (OF/IF) look to take on the leadership roles and provide pop in the lineup. Junior Shawn Collier (IF) is a solid baseball player that is needed to provide a spark offensively and defensively. Sophomore Ethan Fremder has the potential to become a solid player if he continues to progress. Zack Jordan (MIF/RHP) and Nick Williams (So. LHP/OF) are other interesting young prospects.

No. 10 Fredericktown High SchoolMatt Smith

The Freddies fell short last season, falling to eventual state champ Wheelersburg in the state semifinals 3-0. Fredericktown finished 2012 with a 23-5 record and are poised to get back to Columbus in 2013. Head coach Tom Craze has a talented squad led by Western Carolina recruit Matt Smith (5-11, 190, OF/LHP) and Ashland recruit Nash Cunningham (6-0, 170, RHP). Senior Andrew Hulse (5-10, 205, RHP/3B) gives depth on the mound as well as pop in the lineup. Sophomore Tyler Ruhl (5-9, 155, C/OF) is another prospect.