Since Nippy Prease began coaching the Columbus (Watterson) Post 82 baseball team in 2005, he's had two types of teams.

Since Nippy Prease began coaching the Columbus (Watterson) Post 82 baseball team in 2005, he's had two types of teams.

One is built for success on the state level, filled with recent Watterson graduates and experienced seniors. The other, which has mostly rising juniors and seniors, is built for player development.

Prease knew early on that this season's squad would be the latter, and he's not looking at that as a bad thing.

"When we went to the state championship three years ago twice, back-to-back, we had guys who had played a lot of ball," Prease said. "The last two years, we've had guys who are very inexperienced, mainly j.v. ballplayers. We have that again, but the good thing about that is it helps the varsity team next year. Now they're getting experience, and when they start their varsity year, they start out already running. It's a good thing."

Senior Aaron Hannigan said there is a balance between preparing for next spring and focusing on winning in the summer.

"At Watterson (Post 82), we always expect that we can win and we can carry ourselves far in the tournament," Hannigan said. "But at the same time, it is about getting some of our younger players some experience. And toward the end of the season, hopefully people mature enough and everything comes together so we can keep it going."

In 2007, Post 82 reached the state final and finished 35-10. Last season, it went 12-20 and 1-2 in the District 12 tournament, but Prease said he was pleased with the way the young players developed.

Watterson's high school team, however, improved from 14-12-1 and third in the CCL two years ago to 18-8 with a CCL title last season.

This spring, even with the young roster, Post 82 has been competitive, starting 6-8 overall and 5-3 in District 12 before playing Westerville (South) Post 171S last Monday, Grove City Post 164A last Tuesday and Upper Arlington Post 443 last Wednesday.

The team's strengths and weaknesses have been obvious. Post 82 has had no problem hitting the ball, but its pitching rotation is largely untested at the varsity level. Prease cited a 22-13 loss to Hilliard (Darby) Post 614C on June 17 as an example.

The rotation has been led by its two most experienced pitchers, seniors Hannigan and Greg Hock. Hannigan threw a perfect game in an 11-0 win June 16 over Columbus (West) Post 98.

Others who will pitch are senior Kenton Fowler and juniors Sean Hoy, Collin Wear, Ray Cook, Kevin Mong and Paul Ottaviano.

"They're going to take their bumps up here and they're going to get hit, but they're going to battle," Prease said. "That's the good thing about these guys. They're going to battle and it's only going to make them better next year."

At catcher, Ottaviano has been splitting time with 2009 graduate Kevin Obarski and senior Eric Robinson. Obarski, who was first-team all-district and is headed to Ohio Northern, was hitting .428 before last weekend. Robinson, who was honorable mention all-district, was hitting .500 with one home run.

Cook and junior Adam Kos-cielski have split time at first base, with Koscielski also seeing action at third base. Koscielski was hitting .387 with two home runs and 12 RBI. Juniors John O'Brien and Adam Mong have split time at second, while Brad McCurdy has started most games at shortstop. McCurdy was hitting .433, and O'Brien was at .400. Hock and Kevin Mong have split time at third with Koscielski.

In the outfield, senior Joey Boener and Brett Lattrell have each seen action in center field, 2009 graduate Nick Briski and junior Steven Vagnier have split time in right field and Hannigan and junior Nick Kernan have each played left field. Briski will play at Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit.

At a glance

•Coach: Nippy Prease, fifth season

•Key players: Nick Briski, Aaron Hannigan, Greg Hock, Adam Koscielski, Kevin Obarski and Eric Robinson

•Next game: Today vs. Southway (Central Crossing) Post 144