Talented group returns for Swanton baseball


By Max Householder - mhouseholder@civitasmedia.com



Roman Epley of Swanton throws out a base runner at first base in a game last season. He made honorable mention all-league as a freshman.


Michael Lawniczak is one of seven letter winners returning for the Swanton baseball team in 2017. He made second team All-NWOAL a season ago.


Swanton senior Gunnar Oakes rounds third base and scores a run in a game last season. Oakes finished first team All-NWOAL as a junior.


File Photo

The Swanton baseball team has a bulk of its roster back from a team that finished 14-10 overall and 5-3 in NWOAL play in 2016.

They only lose two letter winners off last year’s team, and of those, Jordon Nyler was the only all-league performer as he was honorable mention All-NWOAL. Bryce McComb is the other letter winner gone to graduation.

“We have a talented mix of underclassmen and seniors. Expectations within the program are high,” said head coach Tim McCarthy of his team. “It’s been a joy so far watching them compete and get better every day. I believe the continued hard work and improvement will lead to a successful season.”

There is a lot to be encouraged about with the Bulldogs according to their coach.

“I really like our pitching depth, especially with the new OHSAA guidelines,” said McCarthy. “We have 7 guys, led by senior Noah Johnston, I feel comfortable putting on the mound. Defensively this team should be the best I’ve had here at Swanton. The infield will be led by a trio of sophomores: catcher Michael Lawniczak, shortstop Roman Epley and third baseman Hunter Mix. We will also have an outfield that can flat out go get it led by Gunnar Oakes.”

Key returnees for the Dogs are Oakes who was first team all-league, Lawniczak who was second team all-league, and Epley who made honorable mention all-league.

Also back are Jonny Shanks, Josh Adcock, Duyane Goings and Zach Bloom. They also add Austin Luce, Dylan Cook, and Xavier Williams who hope to compete for a position.

In the batter’s box Swanton has their top four hitters returning in Oakes, Lawniczak, Epley and Adcock.

“Our overall depth is a concern,” said McCarthy of his team’s potential weaknesses. “We will need some offensive consistency. We return our top four hitters but the rest of the lineup is unproven at the varsity level. The staff is deep but lacks varsity experience as well. Our success will hinge on overall consistency (both offensively and defensively), and unproven players stepping up.”

McCarthy likes the Bulldogs chances at making a run for a league title, but he knows that the NWOAL slate will be a rough one.

“I think the NWOAL will continue to be very competitive this spring. All 8 teams have pretty good players coming back. Anyone can beat anyone on any given night in this league,” he said. “Going in it would be hard to not pick Bryan to repeat but I believe Archbold, Wauseon and Swanton, in no order, will also contend for the league title.”

Roman Epley of Swanton throws out a base runner at first base in a game last season. He made honorable mention all-league as a freshman.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2017/03/web1_Epley-put-out.jpgRoman Epley of Swanton throws out a base runner at first base in a game last season. He made honorable mention all-league as a freshman.

Michael Lawniczak is one of seven letter winners returning for the Swanton baseball team in 2017. He made second team All-NWOAL a season ago.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2017/03/web1_Lawniczak-rips-single.jpgMichael Lawniczak is one of seven letter winners returning for the Swanton baseball team in 2017. He made second team All-NWOAL a season ago.

Swanton senior Gunnar Oakes rounds third base and scores a run in a game last season. Oakes finished first team All-NWOAL as a junior.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2017/03/web1_Oakes-rounds-third.jpgSwanton senior Gunnar Oakes rounds third base and scores a run in a game last season. Oakes finished first team All-NWOAL as a junior. File Photo

By Max Householder

mhouseholder@civitasmedia.com

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010

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