Phil Callaghan resigned as Olentangy Orange High School baseball coach May 23, but he’s not walking away from the sport.
After eight seasons leading the Pioneers, Callaghan will focus on summer-league teams.
“It’s something I have been thinking about for a while,” said Callaghan, whose team finished 16-12 overall, losing to top-seeded Liberty 2-1 on May 16 in a Division I district semifinal at Ohio Wesleyan. “I’m leaving, but I’m still going to coach three teams this summer.”
Callaghan was 173-56 at Orange. He also coached at DeSales and Dublin Scioto and has a career record of 633-223 over 29 seasons.
“Coach Callaghan certainly has had a positive impact on the Orange baseball players and program,” athletics director Buck Weaver said. “His success on the field over the course of his career speaks for itself. And even better, coach Callaghan has provided the experience and wisdom to his players to help them grow and become better young men.
“Coach Callaghan leaves some very big shoes to fill.”
The 23rd-seeded Pioneers had a first-round bye in the postseason and defeated 35th-seeded Central Crossing 9-0 on May 9 at home in the second round.
Orange finished third (7-8) in the OCC-Buckeye Division behind Liberty (14-1) and Olentangy (11-4) and ahead of Westerville Central (6-9), Westerville North (4-11) and Westerville South (3-12).
“We had eight losses by one run in the seventh inning or later,” Callaghan said. “I have never heard of anything like that. These guys are fighters and they never gave up.”
Senior Ben Miller (OF; first-team all-league) batted .325, hit the team’s only home run, had 14 RBI and scored 17 runs. The coach’s son, senior Cole Callaghan (2B; second-team all-district, special mention all-league), batted .273 with five RBI, 18 runs and a team-high 22 steals.
Senior Jack Betz (1B; second-team all-league) hit .276 with 16 RBI and team highs in runs (24) and on-base percentage (.455). Senior Connor Evans (C; second-team all-league) hit .308 with a team-leading 20 RBI and scored 10 runs.
Senior Zach Beatty (P/OF; honorable mention all-league) was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 20 walks in 32 2/3 innings. He also batted .253 with 17 RBI and 13 runs.
Senior Grant Ogden (P/3B) batted a team-high .333 with eight RBI and 13 runs. He also was 2-2 with a 4.52 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 17 walks in 26 1/3 innings.
Seniors Hunter Andres and Jackson Tyler excelled on the mound. Andres was 4-2 with a 1.85 ERA, 19 strikeouts and 17 walks in 34 innings, and Tyler was 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 15 walks in 38 2/3 innings.
Josiah Minniear (C) and Jack Ward (INF/P) rounded out the 10-player senior class.
“In terms of personal and social choices, this is the best group that I have ever had,” coach Callaghan said. “Those eight (late one-run losses) hurt, but losses like that will pay dividends in the future because you have to learn how to handle defeat. Life’s always going to give you tough circumstances, and you can’t run from it. You have to keep your head high and work through it.”
Juniors Robbie Dayhuff (OF; .270, 10 RBI, 17 runs) and Jackson Vaughan (OF/P; .317, 5 RBI, 4 runs) and sophomore Zane Lattig (P; 4-3, 2.08 ERA, 24 strikeouts, 8 walks, 30 1/3) are the top players expected to return.
Junior Tyler Ross (SS/P) missed the season with a knee injury. Sophomore Braden Riley filled in at shortstop.
“We have an extremely talented group coming back,” coach Callaghan said.