After finishing second last season the Mad River Division, the Northwestern baseball team is looking forward to better things ahead. Coach Todd Houseman has experience coming back, meaning they are ready for a league championship.
We have a lot of guys back and are putting in a lot of hard work,” Houseman said. “The expectations are high, and hopefully they can have a successful season.”
“They reached the sectional finals last year, and not only do we have a lot of guys back, but our top four pitchers were all sophomores last year.”
Houseman stated that the pitching looks good so far in the early pre-season, along with the defense.
“If we can keep both of those things strong, we can compete and have a successful season.”
“All of these kids want to win the league title, but it is a rough league. Indian Lake won last year and they have everyone back. Ben Logan tied us for second, and they may have lost 1-2 kids but not much.”
“I perceive Graham, Greenon and Urbana all to be better. Our side will be tough this year.”
Spencer Rinaldi returns as a senior and 3 year starter and is one of the leaders according to Houseman.
“He hit .268 last year and should hit better than that,” the Northwestern coach said. “He make good contact but just hit the ball at a lot of people.”
Derek Whip also returns as a three-year catcher.
“He makes my job easy,” Houseman said of the senior catcher. “He is great behind the plate and calls most of the game by himself.”
Tanner White is another senior who also returns in the outfield, and started last year.
Senior Brandon Crist played JV last year but will get time at third base, while Isiah Cydrus is a move-in kid from Kenton Ridge.
“He should be able to help us on the mound,” Houseman said. “He had some arm troubles last year, but is healthy now and looks good on the mound.”
“As a group, these seniors grew up together and played a lot of summer ball together,” Houseman said. “They are a tight knit group and good team leaders, they are looking for big things this year.”
Several juniors also look to contribute this season, including second baseman and top pitcher Gage Vorhees.
“He should bat near top of the lineup and he had a great year pitching as a sophomore,” Houseman said.
Christian Highfield also returns as a junior and one of the Warriors top pitchers last year, while also playing in the outfield when he’s not on the mound. Last season he hit .415.
Evan Crew is a junior left handed pitcher and first baseman, and after suffering a knee injury last season, he is healthy and ready to go according to Houseman.
A few more remaining juniors all are expected to be key players on this year’s team, including pitcher and infielder Jake Parks, who could also handle the designated hitter position. Noah Brown, Jacob Lees and Austin Stanley round out the junior class.
Freshman Gavin Thomas should be the utility guy with the ability to play both the infield or outfield.