Whetstone Roundup: Braves baseball team aims to continue City League title run

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Whetstone baseball coach Tim Broskie cheers on his team during a game against Centennial in 2019. Broskie and the Braves are working to extend their City League championship streak to nine.

It’s been nearly a decade since any team other than Whetstone won a City League baseball title.

The Braves, who captured their eighth consecutive championship in 2019 with a 12-0 rout of Briggs but didn’t have a chance to defend their title in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, intend to extend their streak in 2021.

Whetstone is led by an eight-player senior class, six of whom will start. 

“I do like our group, it’s a hard-working group,” 27th-year coach Tim Broskie said. “We have a combination of eight seniors and six starters returning, some talented juniors and a whole boatload of sophomores.”

Broskie said the Braves also are aiming to find success outside of the City. 

“We’re hoping to knock off a couple non-City schools and we’d like to win a couple tournament games,” he said. 

Broskie said the Braves’ rotation wasn’t completely settled heading into the season, but junior utility player Charlie Burleson projects to be the ace with junior infielder John Longar as the second starter. 

Seniors Michael Newell-Dimoff (utility player), Alex Hurd (INF) and Zach Casto (INF) also should see time on the mound, Broskie said. 

The rotation was the Braves’ most unsettled group entering the season, Broskie said. 

“I feel really good (about the team), but the big thing is going to be pitching,” he said. “That’s a huge question mark.” 

Broskie said the Braves will field an infield consisting of Casto at first base, Hurd at shortstop, Longar at third and senior Joren Clem at second. 

Senior Dominic Panzo will start at catcher. 

In the outfield, senior Jake Hoffman will start in center, with Burleson, Newell-Dimoff and sophomore utility player Drew Burleson also projected to spend time in the outfield and around the diamond. 

Senior outfielders David Henderson and Holden Osbeck also are expected to see time, Broskie said. 

The Braves opened March 27 by playing host to Whitehall and Ready. 

BASEBALL

Coach: Tim Broskie, 27th season 

Next game: April 3, home vs. Independence

Key athletes: Charlie Burleson, Drew Burleson, Zach Casto, Joren Clem, Jake Hoffman, Alex Hurd, John Longar, Michael Newell-Dimoff and Dominic Panzo

Coach sees potential

in softball squad

In his 14th season, softball coach Larry Peck said he’s “guardedly optimistic” about his team. 

Like the baseball team, the softball team won a City title during its last season in 2019 – its first in six years. Six players from that team – now all seniors – have returned. 

“There’s some great leaders in that (senior) group, so we’re good there,” Peck said. “The new players that have never played high school softball before, they’re a really great group of kids.

“We’re going to be a way better team at the end of the season than we are coming into the season. But I think we’re going to be pretty good starting the season.” 

Peck said the roster wasn’t entirely settled entering the season because of the amount of inexperience. 

The Braves will be anchored by senior shortstop Grace Brigle, senior first baseman Megan Harrison, senior outfielder Amelia Morris, junior utility player Elizabeth Absalom and junior catcher Ellen Edwards. 

Peck said sophomore utility player Larae Portis also is expected to see playing time. 

The biggest group in flux is the pitching, Peck said, but the team isn’t short on candidates. 

“I do not have anybody who has extensive varsity high school pitching experience,” he said. “(But) I have lots of pitchers, and somewhere in here we’re going to get those figured out.” 

Senior Caitlyn McDaniel, sophomore Lena Spiropoulos and freshman Nora Dahlberg all are candidates to start this season, Peck said. 

Allie Renshaw, a Columbus School for Girls junior who is eligible to play softball for Whetstone because CSG does not have a team, also is expected to spend time in the circle. 

The Braves opened March 29 against Beechcroft. 

SOFTBALL

Coach: Larry Peck, 14th season 

Next game: April 1 at Upper Arlington 

Key athletes: Elizabeth Absalom, Grace Brigle, Ellen Edwards, Megan Harrison and Amelia Morris 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve