Before each game with the Ohio State baseball team, Brent Todys thinks about how fortunate he is.

The 2016 Westerville North graduate was a redshirt junior with the Buckeyes this spring before the season came to an abrupt halt because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

A designated hitter and backup catcher, Todys appeared in 13 games, batting .256 with five RBI, six runs scored, 14 walks and a .441 on-base percentage in 43 at-bats as the Buckeyes finished 6-8.

"It's a tremendous honor to represent the university," Todys said. "Growing up (in central Ohio), it's great to be able to put on the scarlet and gray. When I'm in the bathroom before I go out on the field, I look in the mirror and realize how blessed I am to be here."

With the early end to the season, the NCAA has granted spring athletes another year of eligibility should they want the extra time. Todys hasn't ruled out taking advantage of that opportunity, but might be leaning toward playing just one more season.

"I can get the extra year if I want it, so I would have two more (seasons) because of the redshirt situation," said Todys, a human development and family science major. "I talked to coach (Greg Beals) about my sixth year, and I'll wait to decide. A sixth year is something I have thought about, but I'm not sure if I want to do it."

Todys was disappointed with the loss of the 2020 season because he believed the Buckeyes were headed in the right direction, having won three of their last four contests.

"It was tough when the season stopped because I think we were starting to pull everything together," he said. "We were trying to find our identity, and I think we were starting to find it.

"With (junior catcher Dillon) Dingler being the starter, I knew my role and I thought I was fulfilling it. I was seeing the ball well and had good at-bats. I was trying to help the team win."

Todys had improved his eye at the plate this spring, as he struck out six times in 58 plate appearances, or 10.3 percent of his appearances. In 57 games last season, he also batted .256 with nine home runs, 41 RBI, 24 runs, a .462 slugging percentage, a .352 on-base percentage and 27 walks while striking 40 times in 230 plate appearances, or 17.4 percent of his appearances, as the Buckeyes finished 36-27.

"Brent really solidifies our ballclub," Beals said. "He's more than a backup catcher to a possible first-round (MLB) draft pick (in Dingler). He's excited to have a greater role behind the plate.

"His defense is great, but he has great character. His personality helps to keep the air right in the locker room. He definitely has that. A good team is made up of a bunch of different characters, and 'Toad' definitely adds to that."

The road from North to Ohio State was a long one for Todys. After a semester at Mount Vernon Nazarene, he transferred to Wallace Community College in Dothan, Georgia. While at Wallace, he learned that Andrew College in Cuthbert, Georgia, was in need of a catcher, so he transferred again.

In the 2018 season with Andrew, Todys batted .353 with six homers, 46 RBI, 20 doubles, a .574 slugging percentage, a .440 on-base percentage and 28 walks in 190 at-bats.

After Ohio State lost catcher Jacob Barnwell to the Colorado Rockies and an incoming freshman catcher, Keegan Fish, to the Miami Marlins in the 2018 MLB draft, Beals was on the lookout for a replacement. That brought Todys onto his radar.

"He had great perseverance and his game had really grown up," Beals said. "We watched him in a summer league in Virginia, and I liked his level of preparation. I wasn't sure if he was a DH-caliber bat, but he handled the game and the pitching staff well behind the plate."

Getting the opportunity to play for the Buckeyes was a dream come true for Todys.

"I was always looking to go Division I, and my coach (at Andrew) asked where I would like to go," said Todys, who earned an associate degree in education from Andrew. "There's not any kid who grows up in Columbus that doesn't want to play at Ohio State. (Andrew) sent up film and my stats and it went from there."

Todys has been trying to stay in shape during Gov. Mike DeWine's stay-at-home order.

"I'm just trying to do as much as possible around the house," he said. "I have a workout area set up in our garage and have been trying to stay in shape that way."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen