2022 NWOAL Baseball Season Preview

LEAGUE FAVORITES … Archbold senior DJ Newman turns to make a throw to second base after fielding a ball in front of the mound during their Division III district semifinal against Milan Edison. (FILE PHOTO)


By: Nate Calvin

After placing fourth in the NWOAL last season, a young Archbold Bluestreak ballclub found their stride in the postseason as they advanced all the way to the Division III state title game where they fell to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.

With a majority of the team returning, Archbold is considered the front runner in the NWOAL entering the 2022 season.

Another team with a wealth of returning experience are the Evergreen Vikings who bring back everybody from last season including University of Toledo commit pitcher RJ Shunck.

Last year’s league champs are on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to returning experience as Wauseon returns just four letter winners from a squad that went 7-0 in the league in 2021.

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


1. Wauseon (19-6, 7-0 NWOAL; Lost to Defiance 8-2 in Division II district semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Trent Thomas-15th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Connar Penrod (UTL/P; Sam Krasula (C); Brady Thomas (INF/P); Kolton DeGroff (INF/P); Easton Delgado (OF/P); Cam Cantu; Jaxon Radabaugh; Maddux Chamberlin; Hunter Nofziger; Jack Shema; Evaan Dominique; Cooper Lane

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Senior-Clay Stump (P/OF); Juniors-Jude Armstrong (1B); Eli Delgado (P/OF); Ryan Marks (P/INF

NEWCOMERS: Seniors-Will Sherman (P/INF), Evan Bauer (P), Logan Waldron (P/UTL); Juniors-Reece Nation (C), Keaton Hartsock (P/OF), Kage Little (P/INF); Sophomores-Tyson Rodriguez (P/INF), Mason Thomas (UTL), Kaden Clymer (P/UTL)

STRENGTHS: Team speed; pitching depth

WEAKNESSES: Varsity experience; hitting for power

SEASON OUTLOOK: “We have four returning letter winners from the 2021 season.”

“All four returning letter winners from 2021 played and had an impact on our season and in claiming the NWOAL Title.”

“We have two of our top pitchers back from that team with several others who have a great deal of potential on the mound.”

“Although we do not have the big arm at the top of our rotation like we have had in the past, ten players on the roster are capable of logging innings on the mound.”

“Our defense should be solid with speed at many positions with two starting infielders and two starting outfielders returning.”

“Our hitters without varsity experience will need to grow up fast and adjust to the speed of varsity pitching.”

“We will have several capable players that are competing for varsity time and are very capable of making a big impact on our season.”

“Even though we were successful last season in winning the league title, not one of our seven victories was easy.”

“As always, I believe the NWOAL is very competitive from top to bottom. Any team could come out and play well enough to win on a given night.”

“The teams in the league have quality players returning and could make some noise.”

“With the single round league, it will come down to who stays the healthiest and gets the hottest at the right time or the right week.”

“Our scrimmages and non-league matchups against some of the best programs in the state, will prepare us for the grind of the NWOAL season as well as a run in the tournament.”


2. Bryan (12-16, 6-1 NWOAL; Lost to Wauseon 4-3 in Division II sectional final)

HEAD COACH: Corey Walker-1st Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Breven Deckrosh (OF/P); Nolan Kidston (P/SS); Clayton Rupp (P/INF/OF); Keith Huard (1B); Titus Rohrer (1B/OF)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-Mikey Wolff-C/P (.384 BA, 8-2B, 18 RBIs, 13 SB); Quinn Brown-OF/P (.318 BA, 19 RBIs, 13 SB); Ethan Psurny-OF/P (Pitching-20 IP, 2.40 ERA; Hitting-.270 BA); Juniors-Dylan Dominique-INF/P; Taysen Deckrosh-Utility (.246 BA, 6-2B, 17 RBIs, 20 BB); Sophomore-Noah Huard-INF/P

NEWCOMERS: Juniors-Parker Vollmer-OF/P; Ayden Pelz-OF/P; Landon Shilling-OF/1B/P; Joe Watson-1B/C; Colbrin Miley-OF/P; Sophomores-Jase Kepler-INF/P; Sam Herold-Utility; Freshman-Carter Dominique-INF/P

STRENGTHS: Team chemistry, defense, team speed

WEAKNESSES: Inexperienced pitching depth, lineup depth

SEASON OUTLOOK: “We will look to replace five seniors who graduated last season.”

“The return of six letter winners, Mikey Wolff, Ethan Psurny, Quinn Brown, Taysen Deckrosh, Dylan Domiqiue, and Noah Huard, provide experience and leadership for our program.”

“With only three seniors in the program, we are looking for younger guys to step up and play key roles.”

“The expectations are to compete for the NWOAL title and get back to Districts.”

“Our non-conference schedule will test us in order to get ready for the state tournament.”

“Our season will depend on our ability to throw strikes consistently, make plays defensively, and do the little things offensively to score runs.”

“The NWOAL this year should be extremely competitive top to bottom.”

“Archbold and Evergreen both return the majority of their teams and have the top two arms in the league in DJ Newman (Archbold) and RJ Shunk (Evergreen).”

“Wauseon will replace a great senior class and will play hard and are well-coached.”

“Patrick Henry and Liberty Center were young teams last year who return a lot of experience this spring. Swanton and Delta should both be vastly improved as well.”

“We hope to compete every time out to give ourselves a chance to win a league title.”


3. Evergreen (18-10, 5-2 NWOAL; Lost to Paulding 8-5 in Division III sectional final)

HEAD COACH: Mark Cymbolin-2nd Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: None

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-Austin Marvin-OF; Joe Mitchey-OF; Alex Peete-OF; Payton Boucher-3B/P; Landen Vance-SS/P (Pitching- 1.80 ERA, 5-3; Hitting-.342 BA, 2 HRs, 26 RBIs); RJ Shunck-P/1B (Pitching-3.11 ERA, 4-4; Hitting-.278 BA, 18 RBIs); Brock Hudik-OF/P/SS (.319 BA, 31 R, 29 SB); Zach Laver (2B); Nick Smithmyer (P/1B); Ashton Sayers (1B/DH); Juniors-Issac Overfield (C), Connor Hewson (OF), Sophomore- Hunter Vaculik (P/SS)

NEWCOMERS: Freshman-Layne Vance (C)

STRENGTHS: Experience, pitching, defense

WEAKNESSES: Offensive production

SEASON OUTLOOK: “With an experienced group coming back this year, we expect to be competitive in every game we play this season.”

“We will rely heavily on our pitching staff and defense. Offensively, we need to have better at bats and drive in runs when guys are in scoring position.”

“After going 5-2 in the NWOAL last year, we look to be a factor in the league race.”

“The league is going to be competitive and have good balance. Hopefully, we can play good baseball and give ourselves a chance.


4. Archbold (23-12, 4-3 NWOAL; Lost to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 4-1 in Division III state championship game)

HEAD COACH: Dick Selgo-13th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Brandon Taylor (INF/P); Caleb Hogrefe (C)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-DJ Newman-P/SS (Pitching-1.96 ERA, 7-4, 96 Ks, 68 IP; Hitting-.509 BA, 30 RBIs, 3 HRs, 15-2B, 3-3B); Jaybe Burkle-1B/P (.333 BA, 15 RBIs, 8-2B), Gavin Bailey-OF (.270 BA, 6-2B); Zane Behnfeldt-3B/P; Juniors-Devon Morris-C (.299 BA, 15 RBIs, 6-2B); Carson Dominique-OF (.225 BA, 20 RBIs); Brayton Hobbs-INF (.278 BA, 14 RBIs); Krayton Kern (.255 BA); Sophomores-Jayden Seiler-P/INF (Pitching-1.21 ERA, 10-3, 70 Ks, 70 IP); Jack Hurst-OF/P (.275 BA)

NEWCOMERS: Juniors-Cade Miller (2B); Sophomores-Brian Burrowes (C), Stephen Diller (INF), Mason Siegel (INF)

STRENGTHS: Returning experience

WEAKNESSES: Needing to fill some key positions

SEASON OUTLOOK: “This team was very young last year but gained a lot of very valuable experience.”

”This group is very motivated to continue the tradition of Archbold Baseball.”

“A strong non-league schedule including Defiance, Perrysburg, Anthony Wayne, Bowling Green, Ottawa Hills, and Sylvania Southview, plus many teams in our immediate area and league, will be quite challenging.

“It is very difficult to win a strong league, especially when you only play a single round of seven league games.”

“Evergreen will be one of the top teams to beat, as they were very good last year, and have everyone returning.”


T5. Patrick Henry (8-15, 2-5 NWOAL; Lost to McComb 3-1 in Division IV sectional semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Ray Greene-4th Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Gage Seemann (.265 BA, 8 R, 5 RBIs); Caleb Rosengarten (.347 BA, 14 RBIs, 15 R); Layke Crossland (.245 BA, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 9 R); Clayton Feehan (.382 BA, 10 RBIs, 19 R); Trey Woods

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Logan Hudson (.250 BA, 12 R, 7 RBIs); Mason Schweibert (.200 BA); Braden Hall (.148 BA, 4 RBIs, 1-3B); Nash Meyer (.235 BA, 10 RBIs, 10 R); Landon Johnson (.241 BA, 11 RBIs, 9 R)

WEAKNESSES: Team depth

SEASON OUTLOOK: “We look to be competitive in the NWOAL this season. We lost a lot of production from last year’s seniors and are looking to replace that production.”


T5. Delta (7-17, 2-5 NWOAL; Lost to Fairview 11-1 in Division III sectional semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Josh Ruffer-1st Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Max Hoffman-OF (.333 BA, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs); Jayce Helminiak-C/P (.273 BA, 13 SB); Hunter Hamilton-SS/P (.250 BA, 12 SB); Austin Michael-P/3B (.212 BA); Chase Stickley-P/1B (.254 BA, 21 R)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors-Kalvin Tenney (INF/OF); Juniors-Bryce Gillen (OF/P), Brenden Pribe (INF/P); Sophomore-Landon Griesinger (C/INF/P), Maverick Mercer (OF/P)

NEWCOMERS: Juniors-Will Brown (C), Aaden Koder (3B); Sophomores-Alex Brown (INF/P), Brody Waugh (1B/P)

STRENGTHS: Team chemistry, willingness to learn, pitching depth

WEAKNESSES: Inexperience, hitting

SEASON OUTLOOK: “Our five seniors from last season batted 1 through 5 in the lineup. Each senior had multiple years of varsity baseball. It will be a challenge to replace that experience.”

“Our 2022 roster has kids willing to learn, get better, and compete. If the first few weeks of practice are any indication, these kids will keep improving and this team may surprise a few opponents this season.”

 The NWOAL is always a competitive league. Wauseon, Bryan and Archbold are consistent performers year after year – any one of these schools could challenge for the title.”

“Evergreen has been on the rise and will be expected to be solid again. On any given night, any team could beat anyone.”

“And with only one NWOAL match-up per opponent, that enhances the importance of every league game.”


T7. Liberty Center (5-18, 1-6 NWOAL; Lost to Archbold 4-2 in Division III sectional semifinal)

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T7. Swanton (3-24, 1-6 NWOAL; Lost to Lake 8-1 in Division III sectional semifinal)

HEAD COACH: Josh Siewert-3rd Season

PLAYERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Trent Weigel (P/Utility); Devon Crouse (P/OF); Blake Szalapski (P/OF)

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Hunter Gowing (P/INF); Ryan Oshea  (P/INF); Garrett Swank (INF); Kaden Curtis (C); Austyn Gossett (C/Utility); Lucas Bloom (P/Utility); Drew Smigelski (P/1B); John Heckert (P/C)

NEWCOMERS: Caleb Ostrander-Bowser (Utility); Zander Swartz (INF); Wes Coon (P/1B); Kyler Stevens (P/OF)

STRENGTHS: Team chemistry, disciplined

WEAKNESSES: Inexperience, pitching

SEASON OUTLOOK: “We have a little experience from last year, but we have good team chemistry. And if we can learn something from every game we play, I believe we will be able to compete with anyone.”

“I think we play in one of the toughest leagues around, it will be a grind.”

“Archbold is coming off a runner-up at the state tournament and Evergreen having 11 seniors. Wauseon and Bryan are always in the mix also.”

Nate can be reached at sports@thevillagereporter.com


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