Fundamentals are important to the making of a good team, and third-year coach Chris Herring said his Grandview Heights High School baseball players have taken that to heart this spring.
The Bobcats, especially their strong junior and sophomore classes, performed well in the preseason.
"These guys are fundamentally sound," said Herring, whose team went 7-18 overall last season and finished sixth (5-9) in the MSL-Cardinal Division behind champion Liberty Union (12-2). "We scrimmaged (March 21 against Marion) Elgin, which is traditionally a good baseball school that has five seniors and two Division III (college) recruits. We had five sophomores playing and though we lost 4-3, we executed a successful squeeze and a rundown and also threw out runners (from the outfield) at third (base) and home.
"In years past, we were teaching baseball 101 and now we're at the 300 level. It's been that kind of advanced baseball this spring."
The Bobcats opened March 31 with an 18-2, five-inning loss to Jonathan Alder.
Grandview has one senior in Josh Keller (C/P/1B), who has started at catcher since his freshman season.
Jon Faris (P/OF; .300 batting average last season) and Joe Pinney (SS; .317) lead a junior class that also includes Ethan Graham (P/1B), Ben Kinder (2B), Leo Readey (OF/P), Tristen Rose (OF/P) and Hank Wilson (3B).
The sophomore class consists of Jake Bush (P/OF/1B), Grant Crabill (P/OF/1B), Tom Damschroder (P/OF/SS), Colin Elliott (OF), Joey Gerrick (INF/OF) and Thomas Stanley (P/C/3B).
"Obviously, we have a lot players new to the varsity level," Herring said. "We have Josh Keller, Jon Faris, Joe Pinney and Tristen Rose, and the rest are all pretty new to varsity.
"That leaves five positions up for grabs and these sophomores have been taking that to heart. They are talented enough to play varsity and they have been showing that."
Also in the program are freshmen Jake DeNiro (3B), Jack Dobies (SS), Donovan Garner (2B), Joe McCauley (P/OF), Luke McCollough (C/2B), Kaleb Senter (P/1B), Zyg Stafa (OF) and Patrick Taylor (P/1B).
The Bobcats will compete in the MSL-Ohio with Bexley, Columbus Academy, London, Madison Plains, West Jefferson, Whitehall and Worthington Christian. They open league play Friday, April 4, at Madison Plains.
New softball coach, players enthusiastic
The softball team has a new coach in Michael Cantrell. He replaced Ron Cameron, who coached one season after taking over for four-year coach Jim Amato.
The Bobcats went 6-17 overall last season and finished sixth (4-10) in the MSL-Cardinal behind co-champions Liberty Union and West Jefferson (13-1). Grandview has moved to the MSL-Ohio, which also includes Bexley, London, Madison Plains, West Jefferson, Whitehall and Worthington Christian.
"I like their enthusiasm," said Cantrell, a 2009 Mechanicsburg graduate who has been an assistant at Springfield Kenton Ridge, Marysville and Westerville North. "We like to work fast and hard. I try to push the excitement and have them enjoy the game."
The top returnee is senior catcher/pitcher Natalie Webb, who was second-team all-league last season after batting .481 with a .550 on-base percentage, one home run, 14 runs and 27 RBI.
Also back is junior outfielder Emma Bulla, who batted .441 with a .479 on-base percentage, 15 runs and 20 stolen bases. Senior pitcher Morgan Ramey also returns, as does junior Mary Guida (C/1B) and sophomore Abby Faught (OF).
"Our two seniors are our two captains and they have really been a big help," said Cantrell, whose team opened April 1 against Hamilton Township and begins league play Friday, April 4, at Madison Plains.
"From the first day, (the seniors) have shown leadership with the other players, especially during non-contact periods (with the coaches)."
Several players did not return, including sophomores Andi Abbruzzese and Mary Emma McLeod.
Abbruzzese (P/OF), who transferred to Grove City Christian, was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league last season, leading the Bobcats with a .524 batting average to go with a .565 on-base percentage, 21 runs, 17 RBI and 30 stolen bases. McLeod (P) batted .391 with a .429 on-base percentage and 10 RBI.
Juniors Riley Cochran (INF/OF; .306) and Allison Voelker (OF/1B; .302) also did not return.
New to the program are sophomores Celina Breitenborn (OF) and Caitlyn Navarrete (OF).
The roster also includes freshmen Kynsie Burton-Smiles (SS/2B), Paige Crabill (C/1B), Learin McHugh (OF), Bailey Smith (SS/2B), Lauren Tucker (OF) and Chloe Wernet (3B/SS).