Seven players graduated off last season’s Region 12 runnerup baseball team at Blanchester High School.
Among the top players gone are three first team All-SBAAC players Brant Bandow (25 runs batted in), Jack Davidson (24 runs batted in) and Eric Patton (14 stolen bases and .479 on-base percentage). In addition, the fleet-footed Preston Griffin (35 steals) graduated as well.
So head coach Aaron Lawson and Co. will have to find a way to overcome the losses in order to repeat its historic season. Lawson said his Wildcats must get past last season’s success in order to realize its potential in 2019.
In his eighth season at BHS, Lawson will be assisted by Drew Freeman, Kevin Brown, Alan Ledford, Bradon Pyle and Rusty Black.
The veteran Blanchester coach said Clermont Northeastern and Bethel-Tate are league favorites. Blanchester was 20-11 last season and won the SBAAC National Division title.
Leading the way for the Wildcats will be returning first-teamers Dustin Howard (.322, 25 RBI), Jacksson Waialae (.405, .537 OBP) and Brody Rice (7-3 record) as well as second teamer Cole Ficke, who caught 165 innings last season for ‘Cats.
There are several newcomers who can fill the voids including Hayden Tedrick, Mason Rector, Orin Potts, Kaleb Goodin, Trenton Czaika and Reagan Burch.
But Lawson knows at the high school level it’s all about pitching and he hopes his staff, which has plenty of arms, can give the team “quality starts” this season.