Preseason Preview: Defiance HS

Dylan Hefflinger
Senior Writer and Northwest Ohio Scout


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).
  • Mazen Kanouh (P).
  • Wade Verhoff (OF).Austin Hancock
  • 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.
  • Jacob Green (OF).
  • Adam Schaffer (OF).

Class of 2015

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

Class of 2016

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