Todd BakerÊnever willÊforget what occurred in 2006.

Todd BakerÊnever willÊforget what occurred in 2006.

He was the pitching coach for the Olentangy High School baseball team, which advanced to the Division I state championship before losing to Strongsville 12-7 to finish 30-3. It was an experience he believes will be invaluable when he becomes Olentangy Orange's first coach in 2009.

He never has led a program, but he emerged from a finalist list of 15 applicants that included two head coaches.

"We played one season with 33 games. You just can't replace the experience the coaches got that year," Baker said. "Everybody in the program wants to keep it going. Everybody works really hard around here. To have a position alongside (Olentangy Liberty coach Matt Lattig and Olentangy coach Steve Little) is quite a compliment."

Baker has been involved with Olentangy's program for 13 years. After serving as the junior varsity coach at his alma mater, Delaware, for two seasons, he coached the Olentangy j.v. for three years before becoming pitching coach under former Braves coach Jeff Riley in 1999.

He served in that capacity until this season, when he again took over the Olentangy j.v. Eight of his players and six more on the freshman team at Olentangy are expected to attend Orange next year.

"I've been with Olentangy baseball for 13 years, so I thought about it for a little while before pursuing it," Baker said. "The opportunity to start my own program and put fingerprints on it is exciting."

Baker is a 1981 Delaware graduate and a 1991 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan. He played some in high school and college but was limited because of knee problems.

He has been a teacher in the Olentangy school district since 1994 and is in his third year as physical education teacher at Glen Oak Elementary.

"He's been an assistant at Olentangy and has been a part of coach Little's staff for a number of years," Orange athletics director Tony Milano said. "They've won two district titles and had two district runner-up finishes in the last eight years. He's currently the j.v. coach because he wanted to run his own team. He takes a lot of pride in how the program is run and has a good idea of what he wants the program be like at Olentangy Orange. He came very highly recommended by coach Little, which says a lot."

The Braves went a combined 69-18 from 2005-07. Last year, they finished 20-6 and captured their second consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship. Olentangy hasn't had fewer than 15 wins in a season since 2003.

Baker's j.v. opened this season at 5-6.

"We're going to be aggressive on the basepaths and we're going to try to emulate some of the other top programs in the area," Baker said. "When you see some of the other top programs, they're winning by being aggressive."

Baker's hiring moves Orange one step closer to filling out its coaching staff. Gymnastics is the only non-spring sport that Milano still is attempting to fill. In the spring sports, he still is considering candidates for boys and girls lacrosse and softball.