2022 BBC Baseball Season Preview

BEATING THE THROW … Easten Richmond slides into second base for Montpelier ahead of the throw in a game against Hilltop last season. (FILE PHOTO)

By: Nate Calvin

North Central and Edon return plenty of firepower from last season and figure to be the frontrunners in the BBC this season.

Montpelier, winner of the last three league titles., will look to replace a large group of seniors as they compete for another BBC championship.

The BBC schedule will have a new look this season with the addition of the Holgate Tigers. In the past, teams faced each other twice with both games counting toward the league standings.

This season, while some teams will still play each other twice, just one contest will count in the league meaning instead of 12 BBC games, there will be just seven this year.

Below are the team-by-team previews for this season in order of last season’s league standings.

1. Montpelier (20-7, 12-0 BBC; Lost to Antwerp 5-1 in Division IV district final)

HEAD COACH: Toby Hutchison-12th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Collin Crisenberry-P/OF (Hitting-.478 BA, .558 OBP, 41 SB; Pitching-.962 ERA, 5-0); Tylor Yahraus-P/Utility (.419 BA, .472 OBP, 43 SB); Blake Altaffer-P/Utility (Hitting-.440 BA, .566 OBP, 41 RBI; Pitching-.454 ERA, 10-1, 127 Ks); Ethan Marihugh-P/1B (.321 BA, .526 OBP); Brayden Johantgen, Gavin Wurm, Gavin Stratton

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Senior-David Bowman (P/C/Utility); Junior-Easten Richmond (P/Utility); Sophomore-Jaxon Richmond (P/Utility)

NEWCOMERS: Juniors-Trent Thorp (P/Utility); Jamison Grime (P/Utility); Landon Fackler (P/Utility)

STRENGTHS: Versatility, pitching depth

WEAKNESSES: Inexperience, low numbers

SEASON OUTLOOK: “Winning the BBC for the third year, playing in the district finals, and breaking numerous school records was everything we could’ve hoped for from our boys last season.”

“Like we say every day, there is a bullseye on our back from day one. We graduate a group of seniors that have carried our program for several years.”

“New faces will have to step up to fill the gap that many of the kids have left.”

“This year we have one returning senior in David Bowman, who will catch and pitch for us. With the low numbers, younger guys will need to step up and assume a leadership position as well.”

“We bring back Easton and Jaxon Richmond who were two other starters that will be big pieces of our success this year.”

“Landon Fackler, a sophomore, is one of the kids who has grown and made huge strides. We expect him to be another guy to help carry us. “

Overall, we expect to compete in the BBC every day. With the new schedule of league play we now only get one shot at a team, which I feel will make teams rely more on pitching than ever before.”

“The league as a whole will be competitive and every team has to bring their best every day.”

“There really is not a clear-cut team at the top. Edon, North Central, and Hilltop are probably teams to watch for, but it’s the team that plays the best that day that can win the game in our conference.”

2. North Central (14-11, 9-3 BBC; Lost to Antwerp 4-3 in Division IV district semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Eric Smeltzer-14th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Brandon Raker, Kaiden Russell, Ben Turner

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-Zach Hayes, Colton Hicks, Sam Wheeler; Juniors-Quin Burt; Sophomores-Ethan Beard, Connor Gendron, Cohen Meyers, Keanu Miller, Ben Pettit

NEWCOMERS: Juniors-Skyler Bostater, Clayton Douglass, Mason Hamilton; Sophomores-Joe Burt, Johnny Hicks, Gage Kidston, Sam Moore, Jake Turner; Freshman-Wyatt Gruber, Gavin Shockley

STRENGTHS: Returning lettermen, pitching

SEASON OUTLOOK: “This great group of young men look to work hard and be successful by improving each day and look to compete for a BBC championship and long tournament run.”

3. Pettisville (12-8, 7-5 BBC; Lost to North Central 7-3 in Division IV sectional final)

HEAD COACH: Paul Bishop-17th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Brayden Barrett, Blake Eyer, Josh Hornin (1st Team BBC), Nate Keim (Honorable Mention BBC), Jake King (Honorable Mention BBC), Anthony Smith, Isaac St. John (2nd Team BBC)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Josh Basselman, Gideon Myers (2nd Team BBC) Josh Norr (2nd Team BBC), Nate Rupp, Luke VanDenBerghe

STRENGTHS: Versatility

WEAKNESSES: Youth, inexperience

SEASON OUTLOOK: “Our team has been working hard and have been showing improvement every day in practice.”

“Gideon Myers (4-2) will return after a strong junior season on the mound. He will be looked at as our number one pitcher and play SS/2B when not pitching.”

“Josh Norr is our top returning hitter from last year (.308 avg, 27 RBI, 22 runs scored). Due to his versatility, he will be asked to play multiple positions depending on the day.”

“Josh Basselman (P, 2B/3B) and Nate Rupp (P, 1B, CF) will provide needed experience and will help solidify our defense.

“We will need to have guys step up in a hurry to replace the 7 seniors from last season.”

“We hope to come out and compete in every game we play. We will be starting 5 guys with little to no varsity baseball experience.”

“The growth and experiences these young guys get from the early season games will help tremendously later in the season.”

“I expect North Central and Edon to be at the top of the league this year.”

T4. Edon (7-19, 6-6 BBC; Lost to Antwerp 6-1 in Division IV sectional final)

HEAD COACH: Brien Moore-7th Season


RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-Ethan Steinke (P/OF/ INF), Gannon Ripke (P/OF), Cole Vasquez (P/INF); Juniors-Caden Nester (INF), Ian Hickman (P/INF), Garrett Skiles (C/OF), Wyatt Moore (OF/INF, Konnor Prince (P/INF/OF), Wade Parrish (P/INF/OF; Sophomores-Chris Joice (OF/P), Clayton Dulle (P/INF)

NEWCOMERS: Kyler Sapp (P/INF), Max Radabaugh (P/INF/OF), Carter Steinke (C/P), Mason Pinkham (OF)

STRENGTHS: Experience, hitting, pitching, base running

WEAKNESSES: Depth, defense

SEASON OUTLOOK: “We look to be competitive this spring. We bring back our entire roster from last season and we have added some promising student athletes to our program.”

“We believe our non-conference schedule will prepare us for our tough league schedule.”

“With our non-conference schedule and league schedule, we feel it will help prepare us for the tournament.”

“We know that we must play our best baseball every day in order to be successful.”

“The BBC is a very tough baseball conference. The league has a lot of great programs, players, and coaches.”

“We feel that we can compete for a league championship this year, but know we have to play our best to win the league.”

“The league will be wide open this year. North Central returns two of the top arms in the league, Montpelier brings back a ton of offensive experience, Holgate is always tough and they play fundamental baseball, Pettisville is always well coached and they compete, and Stryker and Fayette are improving and will be very competitive.”

“The BBC should be a fun conference to watch this year.”

T4. Hilltop (6-18, 6-6 BBC; Lost to North Central 11-1 in Division IV sectional semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Tony Gerig-13th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Connor Schlosser (1st Team BBC, .343 BA), Chase Whitman (Honorable Mention BBC), Thomas McCoy (Honorable Mention BBC), Ethan Varney (.319 BA), Isaac Baumgartner (.320 BA)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-Ian Hoffman (2nd Team BBC, 3.81 ERA), Lucas Jacobs (OF/INF), Andyn Haynes (IF); Sophomores- Wade Wagner (P/INF/C), Raace Haynes (INF/C/P)

NEWCOMERS: Freshman-Devin Dempsey (C/P/INF), Cameron Schlosser (INF/P/C; Sophomores-David Rodriguez (INF/P), Colton Wood (INF); Juniors-Tyzon Pelfrey (INF/C)

STRENGTHS: Pitching depth, offensive depth, athleticism

WEAKNESSES: Inexperience

SEASON OUTLOOK: “This team appears to be very excited for the season. The energy at our practices has been great so far and they seem hungry to prove to the area that we can compete.”

“I feel like we have the ability to contend in our league and also have enough depth to be much better than what we were last year outside of conference. “

“We have a very tough opening schedule so it will be key for us to maintain a positive attitude and work ethic as we move into conference play.”

“Montpelier has won three straight league titles, so they have earned the right to be called a favorite even though they graduated a large portion of their contributors.”

“North Central looks to have a very competitive team this year and well as Edon while Pettisville has built a tradition of always being a tough out.”

6. Fayette (4-16, 2-10 BBC; Lost to Edon 15-3 in Division IV sectional semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Matt Maginn-6th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Tanner Wagner (P/SS), TJ Moliterno (CF), Tyrese Pearson (RF/LF), Jayden Faifield (LF)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Senior-Owen Lemley (1B); Juniors-Skylar Lester (3B), Chase Moats (CF/P/3B); Sophomores-Shane Maginn (P/C/3B), Riley Burkhard (RF/2B), Gavin Figgins (RF), Hawk Brehm (1B), Wyatt Mitchell (P/C/SS/2B/CF), Sebastian Jacob (P/2B/RF)

NEWCOMERS: Seniors-Quinn Mitchell (P/SS/2B); Freshman-Caden Leininger (P/SS/3B/C)

STRENGTHS: Returning experience, pitching

WEAKNESSES: Middle defense

SEASON OUTLOOK: “I am positive and exited for this upcoming season. I feel we should be competitive in all our games this season.”

7. Stryker (0-15, 0-12 BBC; Lost to Hicksville 13-3 in Division IV sectional semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Craig Kidston-1st Season

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Levi Barnum, Jacob Cadwell, Logan Stuckey, Gavin LaBo

NEWCOMERS: Teyvon Harris, Matthew Froelich, Devin Montague, Daniel Donovan, Jacob Myers, Braylen Wickerham

STRENGTHS: Pitching depth, hitting


SEASON OUTLOOK: “The area coaches have been very welcoming to coach Brody Shock and I. As first year coaches, they’ve helped us find answers to many questions.

”Our athletic director, Kent Holsopple, has also been super supportive in getting us prepared for our first season.”

“I look for Edon, North Central and Holgate to be the teams to beat in the BBC. Overall, the league is balanced.

NEW LEAGUE MEMBER: Holgate (11-15, 2-5 GMC; Lost to Leipsic 8-0 in Division IV sectional final)

HEAD COACH: Tim Kelly-10th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Gavin Kuppersmith, Brandon Hohenberger, Joey Kelly, Sam Merira

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Hunter Gerschutz (P/OF), Robbie Thacker (P/OF), Brodi Burgei (P/INF), Abe Kelly (P/SS), Micah Mok (P/INF), Dylan Boecker (C/P), Jake Thorne (INF/P), Noah Grime (OF/P)

NEWCOMERS: Chad Bowers, Paul DeLong

STRENGTHS: Overall experience

WEAKNESSES: Low numbers, team speed

SEASON OUTLOOK: “We look to be competitive in our first season in the BBC.”

Nate can be reached at sports@thevillagereporter.com

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