Wauseon baseball has some key players back from the 2019 season but without a 2020 campaign where they could have gained further experience, it is uncertain how the success of two years ago will translate to this season.
“We have five returning letter winners from the 2019 season. We also have several players who would have been everyday players a season ago had we been able to play,” said longtime head coach Trent Thomas. “There are many unknowns without the 2020 season, however we are confident in our players after our abbreviated summer workouts. We look to build off of our Division II tournament run which ended in the district finals in 2019. All five of our returning letter winners from 2019 played a major role on that team. We have three of our top pitchers back from that team with several others who have a great deal of potential on the mound.”
Leading the Wauseon returnees is Connar Penrod, who was honorable mention All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League and in the Northwest District in 2019. They also have back fellow seniors Sam Krasula (C), Brady Thomas (IF/P), Kolton DeGroff (IF/P) and Easton Delgado (OF/P).
“We believe our number one, senior Connar Penrod, is one of the best pitchers in the state and our pitching is very deep with 12/18 players on the roster capable of logging innings on the mound,” explained Coach Thomas. “Our defense should be solid with speed at many positions and several returning position players. Our hitters without varsity experience will need to grow up fast and adjust to the speed of varsity pitching. We will have several capable players that are competing for varsity time and are very capable of making a big impact on our season. Whichever players do not win the starting spots will give us a lot of depth off of the bench.”
Strengths for the season according to Thomas include senior leadership, pitching depth, and quality depth at many positions.
Looking to add that depth will be newcomers Cam Cantu, Maddux Chamberlin, Hunter Nofziger, Jaxon Radabaugh, Ryan Marks, Eli Delgado and Jude Armstrong.
A key loss is that of Sean Brock, who in 2019 received second team All-NWOAL honors and was honorable mention All-Northwest District. The Indians will also have to replace Cody Figy, Jameson Gray and Jaden Conrad.
A weakness referenced by Thomas is the unknowns without having a 2020 season to go off of, and that many players could have gained valuable experience.
It is also difficult to make any conjecture as it relates to the league race, says the Indians’ coach.
“Without the 2020 season and a true ACME season it is very hard to predict our league,” he said. “Several teams in the NWOAL lost some very good players to graduation and we will all be looking to players who would have gained valuable experience last year to step up quickly. As always, I believe the NWOAL is very competitive from top to bottom. Any team could come out and play well enough to win on a given night. The teams in the league have quality players returning and could make some noise. With the single-round league it will come down to who stays the healthiest and gets the hottest at the right time or the right week. We hope to get off to a good start and that our tough non-league schedule will prepare us for the grind of the NWOAL season — as well as the tournament.”
Wauseon hosts Defiance on Saturday at 1 p.m. to begin the 2021 season.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.