Jack Schone takes over as the head coach at Big Walnut, replacing Chris Holly, now the pitching coach at Ohio Wesleyan.
“I’m wearing more hats than what I thought I would,” Schone said. “It’s a nice transition for me in terms of – it’s the game I love and I get to do it full-time now. I’m trying to keep myself at a controlled pace and keep things simple for now.”
The Golden Eagles have to replace a talented senior class that won back-to-back district titles, made an appearance in the Division II final four and were regional semifinalists in Division I last season.
Jakob Evans (right field), Nick Green (catcher) and Jacob Young (first base) all played key roles on the team last season as well as center fielder Nick Moser (Mount Vernon Nazarene), pitcher Tommy Fleser (Ohio Northern) and Andrew Klamfoth (Ohio Christian), who have all moved on to play at the college level.
“I’ve had a few of the kids at the 10-, 11-, 12-year-old level,” Schone said. “I’ve been lucky enough to grow through school with them … taking their freshman and their sophomore steps right along with them. It was really neat to be able to watch that unfold.”
Even with all of that talent gone, BW has experience and a talented pitching staff back.
The pitching staff will be led by Henry von Hollen (senior), who tossed a complete game in the district title victory over Pickerington Central; and Austin Becker (junior), who is a Vanderbilt commit.
All 21 on BW’s roster are either juniors or seniors. Seniors Nick Dimitroff (outfield/second base), Parker Imertreijs (catcher/pitcher/third base) and Nick Humphries (first base/outfield) and juniors Connor Gerren (outfield/pitcher), Colton Lee (utility) and Noah Sprowls (second base/shortstop/pitcher) all return from last season’s squad.
“We do have returning seniors this year that we are expecting to fill those (leadership) roles,” Schone said. “That’s going to be the challenge for the staff going into this year … looking for those individuals that are going to step up into those roles.”
Seniors Owen Ramsey (second base/outfield), Will Holland (outfield/shortstop/third base) and Kobe Swackhammer (first base/outfield) and juniors Kyler Plummer (first base), Zach Rines (outfield), Jackson Seiple (first base/outfield/pitcher), Jake Kletrovitch (catcher), JJ McLean (outfield), Evan Ferriman (outfield), Austin Krinn (second base/third base), Jake Foster (third base), Dylan Seward (outfield/second base) and Cale Sherbourne (third base/outfield) round out the roster.
“I see us competing and contending (for an OCC-Capital title),” Schone said. “I’m not going to sell us short at all. I think once all the pieces are put into place and we get settled, I think there’s a lot of good things that we can do.”
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.