Whetstone Roundup: Braves baseball team had ‘so many positives’

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Junior Charlie Burleson hit .411 with 23 RBI, helping the Whetstone baseball team win the City League championship. Burleson also was named first-team all-league.

The Whetstone baseball team shook off a lost 2020 season to again emerge as the top program in the City League.

Although the Braves were seeded 30th for the Division I district tournament and were eliminated with an 11-0, second-round loss May 19 at second-seeded New Albany, they still finished with their biggest win of the season.

On May 24, Whetstone beat visiting Briggs 10-0 in five innings for its ninth consecutive City title. The Braves finished 18-8 overall and won the City-North Division at 10-0, which advanced them to the City championship game against the Bruins.

“It was a good year,” said coach Tim Broskie, whose team went 11-0 at home. “We had so many positives. It was huge.” 

Put simply, the players refused to let each other down.

“We had no idea if the whole season would happen. We had (all these COVID-19 protocols) and every single kid did it, because no one wanted to ruin it for the other one,” Broskie said. “To not have any hiccups and to get 26 games in ... it’s just huge, because last year would have been a really special year with the seniors that we lost.

“So to come back this year and still win the league and do everything is great. We’re proud.” 

Junior pitcher and infielder Michael Newell-Dimoff was among the leaders for an offense that hit .344 with 237 hits and 278 RBI while scoring 336 runs. Newell-Dimoff hit .421 with 20 RBI and a team-leading 24 hits. 

Junior pitcher and utility player Charlie Burleson hit .411 with 23 hits and 23 RBI. Senior infielder Alex Hurd hit .344 with 22 hits and 13 RBI, and sophomore utility player Drew Burleson hit .339 with 20 hits and a team-leading 28 RBI. 

Senior pitcher and infielder Jack Longar hit .333 with 22 hits and 25 RBI and was 6-4 with a 1.61 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings. He was named first-team all-league. 

Newell-Dimoff, Charlie Burleson, senior catcher Dominic Panzo and senior infielder Joren Clem also were first-team all-league. 

Hurd, Drew Burleson, senior infielder and pitcher Zach Casto and senior outfielder Jake Hoffman were second-team all-league. Junior pitcher and utility player Xavier Hinkle and freshman pitcher and infielder Justin Liesinger were honorable mention all-league. 

Senior Megan Harrison (25) congratulates freshman Lydia Pratt after scoring a run. Pratt should be among the top returnees after hitting .569 with three home runs and 36 RBI.

Softball team played

with positive attitude

Like the baseball team, the softball team also set the standard for the City League this year. 

Whetstone won the City-North at 14-0 and defeated Briggs 13-3 in five innings May 24 to capture its second consecutive City title and finish 19-6 overall.

In the Division I district tournament, the 28th-seeded Braves lost 7-2 to 32nd-seeded Licking Heights in the first round May 10.

Coach Larry Peck said he recalled the final practice in 2020, before the season was canceled, when the players thought they might be sidelined only temporarily. Losing out on the opportunity to play last year left a mark on the Braves entering this season. 

“This was the greatest attitude-wise team that I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached teams with really good attitudes,” Peck said. “And I think it all ties back into last year. You kind of take certain things for granted.” 

Whetstone batted .485 as a team with 313 hits, 293 RBI and 15 home runs while scoring 307 runs.

Junior catcher Ellen Edwards led the Braves in a variety of categories, including batting average (.597), hits (37) and home runs (6). She also had 35 RBI. 

Freshman infielder Lydia Pratt hit .569 with 33 hits, 36 RBI and three home runs. Junior utility player Allie Renshaw hit .508 with 29 hits and 24 RBI, and sophomore utility player Larae Portis hit .508 with 32 hits, 19 RBI and a home run along with a team-leading 18 stolen bases. 

Sophomore pitcher Lena Spiropoulos went 9-2 with 68 strikeouts and 5.45 ERA in 66 innings. Senior pitcher Caitlyn McDaniel was 6-0 with 32 strikeouts and a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings. 

Volleyball team

made progress 

The 12th-seeded boys volleyball team lost 25-16, 25-6, 25-16 to 11th-seeded Centennial in the first round of the Division II, East Region tournament May 21 to finish 2-24 overall. 

The Braves went 2-6 in the City-North. They defeated Beechcroft 25-11, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18 on May 20 and 25-16, 21-25, 25-21, 26-24 on May 10. 

Coach Errole Rembert said the Braves made strides in passing and serving and played better defense as the season went on, which is a good sign for next year because Whetstone didn’t have any seniors. 

“They gained a lot of momentum,” he said. “From where they started to where they are now, it’s a miracle.” 

Sophomore setter and outside hitter Max Rogers was first-team all-league. Freshman setter and outside hitter Neil Gordon was second-team all-league and junior middle hitter Duke Daniel was honorable mention all-league. 

Other expected key returnees include junior setter and outside hitter Bryan Phandone and junior outside hitter Finn Lada. 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews 

BASEBALL 

•Record: 18-8 overall 

•Seniors lost: Zach Casto, Joren Clem, David Henderson, Jake Hoffman, Alex Hurd, Jack Longar, Holden Osbeck and Dominic Panzo 

•Key returnees: Charlie Burleson, Drew Burleson, Xavier Hinkle, Justin Liesinger and Michael Newell-Dimoff

•Postseason: Defeated Marion Harding 5-2; lost to New Albany 11-0 (5 innings) in second round of Division I district tournament 

SOFTBALL 

•Record: 19-6 overall 

•Seniors lost: Grace Birgle, Sadie Hannah, Megan Harrison, Caitlyn McDaniel and Amelia Morris

•Key returnees: Elizabeth Absalom, Ellen Edwards, Larae Portis, Lydia Pratt, Allie Renshaw and Lena Spiropoulos

•Postseason: Lost to Licking Heights 7-2 in first round of Division I district tournament

BOYS VOLLEYBALL 

•Record: 2-24 overall 

•Seniors lost: None 

•Key returnees: Duke Daniel, Neil Gordon, Finn Lada, Bryan Phandone and Max Rogers

•Postseason: Lost to Centennial 25-16, 25-6, 25-16 in first round of Division II East Region tournament