Blanchester baseball coach Aaron Lawson felt “terrible” when the 2020 season was cancelled by Covid-19.
He felt even worse for the players who were unable to complete their high school careers.
“I will go on to coach many more games. I feel sorry for the players that lost the entire season and, more importantly, the seniors that were not able to enjoy one last go around,” he said. “We have learned to never take the game for granted. In these crazy times tomorrow is never guaranteed. We must enjoy every moment about today.”
Lawson, 133-70 in his 10 seasons at BHS, will be assisted by Drew Freeman, Alan Ledford and Bradon Pyle at the varsity level and Rusty Black and Mason Rector at the reserve level.
Blanchester was 13-11 in 2019, and third in the SBAAC National Division. The Wildcats won five division titles in six years prior to the 2019 season.
BHS has seven returning letterman, six of them starters, led by first team All-SBAAC players Trenton Czaika, Cole Ficke, Brody Rice and second-teamers Reagan Burch and Adam Frump.
”It is hard to believe even with a cancelled season last year we still have six returning starters,” said Lawson. “That means the upperclassmen have been around a while at the varsity level and know what is expected. They have done a phenomenal job leading by example to the younger crowd on the team.”
Among the players gone from the 2019 team, either 2019 or 2020 grads, are Dustin Howard (first team SBAAC), Clayton Boyd, Kaleb Goodin, Orin Potts, Mason Rector, Christian Stubbs, Peyton West and Jacksson Waialae.
Rice has signed to play baseball in college at Cedarville University. Lawson said he believes Rice is the first BHS player to receive a scholarship to play baseball at a four-year college.
Top newcomers are Zach West, Jake Ficke, James Wymer, Dylan Estep, Carson Curless and Bryce Sipple.
Lawson said his team has experience and a vast amount of baseball knowledge. “It is looking like over two-thirds of the lineup will be players that are on good travel baseball programs. That doesn’t happen very often for a school of this size,” he said.
Lawson said his team must get quality starts from its pitchers, quality at-bats and make the routine plays defensively in order to contend for the league title.