Mustangs set to begin N-O diamond title defense at home Thursday against Barker
In the spring of 2019 an underclassmen dominated Medina High varsity baseball squad captured the Niagara-Orleans League championship and went on to win both Section VI and Far West Regional Class B titles to advance to the state semifinals.
However, the Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions prevented the Mustangs from defending their N-O title last year. It was a cancelled season which also saw the team lose three returning starters to graduation including pitchers/infielders Trevor Luthart and Chris Goyette along with centerfielder Nate Sherman.
With those restrictions now eased Medina is set to begin defense of that N-O title at home on Thursday against Barker at 4:45 p.m. and thanks to the very youthful nature of that 2019 squad the Mustangs return a large veteran contingent.
Barker got an early start to the N-O season dropping a 10-5 decision to Newfane this afternoon.
Newfane was led at the plate by Cade Littman and Gehrig Wilson both with 3 hits, Tyler Baes had a two-run homer and Hunter Jurek two doubles and 3 RBIs. On the mound, Tyler Oudette struck out 13.
Thursday’s other games will have Roy-Hart at Wilson and Albion at Newfane as Akron draws the bye.
Senior middle infielders shortstop Brian Fry and second baseman AJ Seefeldt, who both earned first team N-O All-League honors as sophomores during the 2019 season, head Medina’s veteran group.
Also returning to the Mustangs starting lineup are senior catcher Austin Mosher, junior third baseman Joe Cecchini and junior pitcher/first baseman Zach Fike who were all All-League Honorable Mention selections.
The Mustangs also return varsity experience in junior pitcher/centerfielder Xander Payne, senior outfielder/infielder Corey Saj and sophomore pitcher/first baseman Aiden Paul. Senior outfielders Alex Doval, Hayden Woodroe and Jack Rutkowski round out the squad.
“We’ve got pretty good experience,” said Coach Jon Sherman. “We’ve got a pretty good defense but our pitching is still kind of young. We just have to make sure we do all the little things right.”
Roy-Hart, which finished second to Medina in the 2019 N-O title race, also returns a good nucleus including seniors Noah Stern (catcher) and Hunter Babel (outfield); juniors Gavyn Boyle (outfield/pitcher) and Ryan Mettler (second base/shortstop/pitcher) and sophomore Thomas Russo III (infield/pitcher).
Boyle earned first team N-O All-League honors and Stern was a second team selection.
The Rams lineup also includes senior Zach Duewiger, juniors John Conley and Jay Heideman along with freshmen Dawson Draper, Jake Gould and Brayden Hy.
“We’ve got some good kids back but it’s a young group as we have three freshmen who will be playing,” said Coach Jim Heideman.
Hit hard by graduation, Albion returns only one regular from the 2019 squad, senior outfielder/infielder Alex Gibson.
The Purple Eagles also return seniors Bailey Blanchard (first base/pitcher/outfielder) and Kyle Woolston (pitcher/third base) and junior Tyler Gibson (pitcher/shortstop/second base) with limited varsity experience.
Rounding out the squad are seniors Damion Lattimer (first base/pitcher), Austin Aman (outfield) and Shawn Pellegrino (outfielder) along with juniors Adrian Kingdollar (outfield/pitcher), Mason Bennett (outfield) and Simon Ellison (outfield) along with sophomores Amari Jones (shortstop/pitcher) and Javon Jones (catcher).
“We have very little experience but the key is we are just happy we’re playing, especially for our seniors,” said Coach Bruce Blanchard.
The 2019 season also saw Barker field a very youthful squad which looks to pay dividends this spring as the Raiders return a good contingent of players from that team including seniors Shane Gerhardt (first base/pitcher), Logan Harris (shortstop) and Nathan Heideman (catcher/pitcher) along with junior Jaret Black (first base/outfield) and sophomore Aidan Voss (shortstop/second base).
In addition, the Raiders return five other players who were on the varsity team last year which never got the season in due to the Pandemic including seniors Cole Cain (third base/pitcher), Cole Ecker (outfield) and juniors Andrew Hill (pitcher), Zachary Hill (catcher) and Drew Sandolfni (third base/pitcher).
Senior shortstop/pitcher Mitchell Holtz, who earned first team N-O All-League honors during the 2019 season, and senior first baseman/pitcher Jacob Mazza, a second team All-League selection, head Akron’s veteran group which also includes senior outfielder/pitcher Adam Mietz and junior infielder/pitcher Jack Klodzinski.
The senior trio of Oudette (infielder/pitcher), Trevor Heschke (pitcher/catcher) and Littman (infielder/pitcher) head the lineup for Newfane.
Wilson’s underclassmen dominated roster is led by three seniors – Michael Miller (outfield/pitcher), Anthony Dispenza (pitcher/outfield) and Dylan Herb (infield/pitcher).
Final 2019 Standings: Medina 10-2, Roy-Hart 9-3, Akron 7-5, Albion 7-5, Wilson 5-7, Newfane 4-8, Barker 0-12.