Wauseon baseball will have some holes to fill off last season’s Northwest Ohio Athletic League championship campaign as they graduated 12 players off that team.
However, head coach Trent Thomas is optimistic about what he has returning.
“We have four returning letter winners from the 2021 season. All four returning letter winners from 2021 played an impact on our season and in claiming the NWOAL title,” Thomas said. “We have two of our top pitchers back from that team with several others who have a great deal of potential on the mound. Although we do not have the big arm at the top of our rotation like we have had in the past, 10 players on the roster are capable of logging innings on the mound.”
Back for the Indians is Jude Armstrong (1B, who was first team All-NWOAL, first team All-Northwest District, and second team All-Ohio a season ago. Clay Stump (P/OF) returns after he was second team All-NWOAL and honorable mention All-Northwest District. They also get back Eli Delgado (P/OF) and Ryan Marks (P/IF).
Newcomers will be Will Sherman (P/IF), Logan Waldron (P/UTL), Evan Bauer (P), Reece Nation (C), Keaton Hartsock (P/OF), Kage Little (P/IF), Tyson Rodriguez (P/IF), Mason Thomas (UTL) and Kaden Clymer (P/UTL).
According to Coach Thomas, strengths for Wauseon this season will be team speed and pitching depth. Weaknesses are lack of experience and being able to hit for power.
“Our defense should be solid with speed at many positions with two starting infielders and two starting outfielders returning,” said the veteran Wauseon coach. “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.”
What will hurt the Indians is the loss of the ace of their pitching staff, Connar Penrod, now on the roster at Bowling Green State University. Penrod made first team All-NWOAL, All-Northwest District, and was honorable mention All-Ohio as a senior.
Other letter winners lost include Sam Krasula, Brady Thomas, Kolton DeGroff, Easton Delgado, Cam Cantu, Jaxon Radabaugh, Maddux Chamberlin, Hunter Nofziger, Jack Shema, Evan Dominique and Cooper Lane.
Wauseon finished the 2021 season with a 19-6 record and perfect 7-0 mark in league play.
The NWOAL should be a tough gauntlet to go through yet again this season, according to Coach Thomas.
“Even though we were successful last season in winning the league title, not one of our seven victories was easy,” he said. “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. Our scrimmages and non-league matchups against some of the best programs in the state, will prepare us for the grind of the NWOAL season as well as a run in the tournament.”
Wauseon opens the season at Defiance on Saturday, March 26 with first pitch at 1 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.