With a limited number of his players competing at the travel level, second-year Ready High School baseball coach Bruce Lunsford has prioritized the importance of building up their knowledge base in the sport.
There are five seniors and four juniors among the 15 players in the program, but many are competing at the varsity level for the first time.
“Most of these kids don’t play summer baseball,” Lunsford said. “They may play (recreational) baseball, but they only practice at the most three hours a week. Hopefully once I get more dug in, we’ll get the seventh- and eighth-graders more active in baseball.”
Ready, which lost seven players to graduation after going 2-18 overall last season, opened March 26 by losing 12-2 to Whitehall and lost to Grandview 23-0 on March 27. The Silver Knights went 0-8 in the CCL last spring and open league action April 12 against Hartley.
Senior Cade Dent (SS/P) was the winning pitcher as Ready beat Mount Gilead 7-1 in the first round of the Division III district tournament last season.
Alex Wohrle (CF/P), who also should be one of the Knights’ top pitchers, Nick Drew (C), Gavin King (3B/P) and Tony Whitt (3B/P) are the other seniors.
Junior Kaeden Boyd (OF) is expected to be among the team’s top hitters.
The other juniors are Luke Monovich (2B/OF), Hunter McBrayer (LF/P) and Tyler Scott (P/LF).
Also on the team are sophomores Luke Jahn (P/1B) and Stephen Reed (C) and freshmen Cael Dent (1B), Colin Kamerer (1B), Dylan Murray (2B) and Byron Scott (SS).
“Boyd and Wohrle played varsity last year, but all of the other ones I kept on (junior varsity) so they could get used to each other,” Lunsford said.
“Luke Monovich has proven
himself to be (a leader) just by his hustle. He’s taken the ninth-graders under his wing. They all seem like they want to play. It’s a good group.”
Softball team adapts
to position changes
Although it returns six starters and two others who played contributing roles, the softball team has a much different look from a year ago.
Senior Skylar Lafferty is in her fourth season at pitcher, but many of the team’s other key returnees have switched positions.
“They’re very supportive of each other,” eighth-year coach Jen Goff said. “We’ve moved a lot of kids around and they get frustrated, but they support each other, which I love seeing. They’re behind each other 100 percent.”
Ready, which went 15-10 overall and was a Division III district runner-up last spring, opened by sweeping London 12-1 and Buckeye Valley 10-0 on March 23. The Knights then beat West Jefferson 5-4 on March 26 and Hilliard Davidson 7-1 on March 28.
Ready began defense of its CCL title April 3 at Watterson. The Knights went 5-1 in the CCL last spring to win the league for the first time since 2009.
Lafferty went 13-8 with 101 strikeouts in 125 1/3 innings and batted .355 last season.
The only other senior is Cece Phillips, who spent most of last season at first base but has taken over for 2018 graduate Dani Hall at shortstop. Phillips had two home runs and 12 RBI and was 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 33 innings.
The top returning hitter is junior Hannah Bryan, who split last season at third base and catcher but is expected to be at catcher full time this spring. An Ohio State commit, Bryan had nine home runs and 43 RBI and batted .438.
Junior Kiley Gallagher is moving from left field to first base after hitting .365 with five homers and 27 RBI.
Sophomore Katie Gallagher returns in center field after batting .339 and sophomore Catey Wolfe is in right field.
Sophomore Megan Wohrle is at third base and classmate Sarah Ranke is in left field after both spent most of last season as courtesy runners.
Freshman Emma Sweetman starts at second base.
Sophomores Carissa Perez and Alyssa Sanders and freshmen Joely Ciborek, Lilly Kapala, Reagan Wheatley and Mattie Wiethe each could see action in a variety of roles.
Hall, who batted .488 with 12 RBI and 33 runs, was joined in the 2018 senior class by Nikki Hawkins (2B) and Shelby Tracy (C/3B). Hawkins is playing for Wittenberg and Tracy is at Belmont Abbey.
Junior Ashlyn Muraco (OF/1B) suffered a knee injury last fall while playing volleyball and didn’t return this spring.
“We lost (some) really good players, but I think we’ll adjust really fast,” Phillips said. “We’ve got to learn and be resilient.”
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
April 4 – At Whetstone
April 6 – Home vs. Liberty Union and Johnstown
*April 8 – At DeSales
*April 10 – Home vs. Hartley
April 8 – At Jonathan Alder
*April 9 – Home vs. Watterson
April 10 – At Hamilton Township
TRACK & FIELD
April 6 – Falcon Invitational at Fairfield Union