Both on and off the field, Gahanna Lincoln senior Alex Streitenberger is looking forward to taking the next steps in his life.
Streitenberger and his teammates on the Lions’ baseball team had their season canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but he’s hoping to play for a travel team at some point this summer in preparation for competing for a rising program at the University of Cincinnati.
In 2019, the Bearcats had one of their most successful seasons, as they bounced back from a 1-9 start to earn the No. 2 seed for the American Athletic Conference tournament and then beat Connecticut for the league tournament title. That earned the Bearcats their first NCAA berth in 45 years.
Cincinnati, which lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to finish 31-31, was 7-8 this year when the NCAA canceled the remainder of the spring sports season because of the pandemic.
Scott Googins was Xavier’s coach for 12 seasons before taking over the Bearcats in 2018.
“They got a whole new coaching staff and since they came in, the baseball program has been on the rise,” Streitenberger said. “They won the league tournament for the first time in 40-some years. They brought in all these new guys and my class will be their second recruiting class, so I’m excited to see what will happen.
“I made (my college decision) at the beginning of my junior year. It felt good that it was still in state, but it was definitely still a little ways from Columbus. The coaches were super friendly and the facilities are great.”
Streitenberger earned special mention all-OCC-Ohio Division honors as a sophomore when he played second base and served as a relief pitcher, with the Lions going 15-11.
Last spring, he earned second-team all-league honors while playing mostly at third base and hitting .459, as the Lions went 19-8 and reached a Division I district final before losing to New Albany 1-0.
Gahanna expected to be among the area’s best again this season, according to Streitenberger.
Streitenberger will join a Cincinnati program that includes one other central Ohio player in Hartley graduate Nate Moore.
Moore was a key contributor for the Bearcats during their postseason run in 2019.
Streitenberger is considering studying marketing in college to possibly set him up for a future as a gym owner. He competed in a powerlifting competition in the Arnold Classic as a freshman but has since focused more on full-body training and is a certified personal trainer.
Streitenberger worked with several clients during the winter and planned to return to personal training in late May.
“Alex is a gym rat,” Lions coach Mike Shade said. “He can swing (the bat), he’s got good power and is a four-year varsity athlete who (joined the varsity) his freshman year at the end of the season and contributed right away.
“We were going to be pretty good this year with a lot of seniors, a lot of experience and a lot of talent.”
Streitenberger has tried to keep busy this spring by running and swinging the bat as often as possible.
He could end playing at shortstop or third base with the Bearcats.
“I’ve just been finding ways to stay active, lifting as much as I can,” Streitenberger said. “I’ve been going on runs to keep in cardiovascular shape and after my baseball career is over, it’s something I’d love to get into with the bodybuilding side.
“I thought that this was definitely going to be our year. We had 15 seniors and I’d been playing with 10 of them since we were 8 years old. It’s really disappointing because we were all finally together. We definitely thought this was going to be our year to make it to state, but it happens.”