Teams hope to rebuild in baseball


Jacob Benge sends a pitch homeward during Fairborn’s home high school baseball game March 19 with Graham High.

Jacob Benge sends a pitch homeward during Fairborn’s home high school baseball game March 19 with Graham High.


file photo.

A Greeneview Rams pitcher delivers a pitch to the plate against Carroll during a 2017 boys high school baseball game at Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium.


file photo.

Ashton Burke (right) tags out a Yellow Springs runner at home plate during a Metro Buckeye Conference game last season. Burke is expected to be one of the leaders on the Legacy Christian Academy team this year.


file photo.

Like most area high school baseball teams, Greene County area teams battle the weather, the early spring holidays and graduation. It seems that local teams either have a bunch of players back for the 2018 campaign (Legacy Christian, Greeneview) or not many at all (Xenia). Either way, you can bet that the teams will play hard.

Xenia

The 2018 Xenia High School baseball team returns only three seniors, but all three are expected to give the Bucs a chance to compete for a division title. Logan Bilbrey returns at third base after being named to the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South team a year ago. He will also bat in the leadoff position and is considered instant offense. Travis Newell will start the year as the ace of a deep pitching staff and Wade Ferrence will roam centerfield. He will provide speed to the lineup.

Kyle Lane will move from second to shortstop this year and bat towards the top of the lineup. Top returning pitchers are Sam Lockwood, who will man the clean-up spot in the line-up and Dylan Hall, who will also play some outfield. Newcomers are Alex Sparks, who will catch and Aydan Evans who will play second as a freshman. Warren Mahar will play several different positions and provide a solid bat for the Bucs. Devin Hall was a JV standout last year and will play a similar role as Mahar. Blayne Dudley is another solid JV player from last year and will pitch, play outfield and add needed speed.

The team is comprised of three seniors, six juniors, six sophomores, and two freshmen. Despite being young and lacking varsity experience, expectations are high. The team hopes to contend for a GWOC American South Division title. The program will offer a youth camp running from June 4-6, and will host the second annual alumni game in the fall. The program would also like to thank all of its sponsors and supporters.

Legacy Christian

The Legacy Christian Academy Knights have several key figures returning this year. Senior Ashton Burke who is the primary catcher and pitches as well, senior Josh Rutan who man’s short stop and pitches, and junior Erik Uszynski who mans third base and also pitches, will serve as the team captains. They were chosen for their leadership traits of integrity, intelligence, and grit.

Legacy will be working with a four-man rotation. Each of the pitchers have the ability to start or relieve a game. Junior Josh Frueh, junior Erik Uszynski, senior Ashton Burke and senior Josh Rutan Senior will be a great starting rotation for the Knights this year. All of the pitchers mentioned are returning and proven on the mound.

There are two notable players coming in off the bench. Sophomore Kyle Mitchell will be playing utility infielder to cover the positions left open by the pitching staff. Mitchell has a unique skill set that allows him to be able to play the left and right side of the infield. Junior Zach Zesiger will be coming in off of the bench as the team’s designated hitter. Zesiger has the ability to find his way on base and can always be counted on for a quality at-bat. Freshman utility outfielder Deuce Brown will be a solid addition to the outfield.

“There are still some questions that are looming in the background like ‘Which one of the young guys is going to step up and take a spot on the field/contribute?’ Despite these questions, the team is very excited to find out just how good they can be” said Burke.

“I feel that once these guys are able to come together as a team they will be a force,” added coach Scott Pickens.

Fairborn

The Skyhawks are off to a 4-1 start. Will C0leman leads the Greater Western Ohio Conference in home runs and runs batted in so far, with two homers and 13 RBI.

Coleman, Mark Peterangelo, Garison Secrest, Andrew Trickett, Jacob Moore, Jarod Bodekor, Saysh Martinez and Kahlil Lettice are all back from the 2017 squad. Bodekor is currently second in the GWOC with an .800 batting average (4 for 5).

Greeneview

Greeneview baseball has a lot of returning varsity players this season. We have eight returning juniors for varsity with no seniors. There are a total of nine juniors this year with a few sophomores and freshmen mixed in for varsity. The junior varsity squad has a few returning players with some very talented new players this season.

Even though we lack seniors this season, the varsity players have stepped up to lead their teams. After losing a couple senior starting pitchers, the rest of the pitchers have developed to replace those who graduated. The coaching staff is extremely excited for this season. We have added Daniel Brannum as the JV coach. We feel our teams are ready to take on the challenges of the 2018 season.

Jacob Benge sends a pitch homeward during Fairborn’s home high school baseball game March 19 with Graham High.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/04/web1_FBPITCHER9_PS.jpgJacob Benge sends a pitch homeward during Fairborn’s home high school baseball game March 19 with Graham High. file photo.

A Greeneview Rams pitcher delivers a pitch to the plate against Carroll during a 2017 boys high school baseball game at Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/04/web1_RamsPitch_PS.jpgA Greeneview Rams pitcher delivers a pitch to the plate against Carroll during a 2017 boys high school baseball game at Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium. file photo.

Ashton Burke (right) tags out a Yellow Springs runner at home plate during a Metro Buckeye Conference game last season. Burke is expected to be one of the leaders on the Legacy Christian Academy team this year.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/04/web1_BurkeChanceRouch_PS.jpgAshton Burke (right) tags out a Yellow Springs runner at home plate during a Metro Buckeye Conference game last season. Burke is expected to be one of the leaders on the Legacy Christian Academy team this year. file photo.