City League Roundup: C.J. Dean, Nate Dorinsky formed dynamic duo for Centennial Stars baseball team

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Centennial senior C.J. Dean has concluded a prep career that saw him earn a chance to compete in college for Cincinnati. He teamed with classmate Nate Dorinsky, a Seton Hill commit, to form a dynamic duo for the Stars.

Knowing they were the only key returnees from the last time Centennial had a baseball season in 2019, seniors Nate Dorinsky and C.J. Dean viewed this spring as one final chance to grow before heading off to play in college. 

Dean has signed with Cincinnati, likely as an outfielder who could also see time as a relief pitcher, and Dorinsky has committed to Seton Hill, a Division II program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where he’ll likely be an outfielder. 

The duo helped the Stars finish 9-6 overall and 8-2 in the City League-North Division this season, but they hope their legacy goes beyond wins and losses. 

“We’ve got a lot of young guys and they’re eager to prove themselves,” Dorinsky said. “They’ve been thrown right into it and have got to grow up quickly. It’s an opportunity for me and C.J. to give them our wisdom, give them the rundown.” 

Centennial was seeded 15th for the Division II district tournament and opened with a 12-2 win in five innings over 19th-seeded Eastmoor Academy on May 17 as both Dean and Dorinsky had two hits. 

Then on May 20 in a second-round game, the Stars lost to top-seeded Bloom-Carroll 13-3. 

“I’ve had a blast,” Dean said. “It’s bettered me as a player and as a person being able to learn what they’re trying to say and work with them, improving my mechanics as a player and overall just growing as a brotherhood with all the people here.” 

Centennial opened with a 3-1 loss to Westland on March 27 that coach Pat Nance believes provided one of the highlights of the season as Dorinsky struck out 12 in a complete-game effort. 

All of the Stars’ league wins were by run-rule in five innings, with their losses coming to Whetstone 12-0 on April 19 and 10-0 on May 5. The Braves won the league title at 10-0.

“Our losses weren’t unforeseen,” Nance said. “I would have liked to have shown up a little better against Whetstone this year, but we’re super young. In retrospect, I only have two guys that have actually played for me (before this season). Otherwise, we’ve got two sophomores, five freshmen and (two other) seniors. It’s been a steep learning curve for those guys. They were kind of thrust into a position that they shouldn’t be in because they should be playing freshman or (junior varsity) ball and they’ve been asked to play varsity. They rose to the challenge.” 

The only other seniors were Jacob Barnes (1B) and Noah Hatem (C), with sophomores Stewart Leech (SS) and Cuthbert Mak (OF) and freshmen Nasir Baldwin (OF), Cameron Moran (2B/3B), Will Putnam (3B/C) and Owen Wolfenberger (2B/3B) expected to be among the top returnees. 

Dean finished with 33 RBI and Dorinsky had 27. 

According to Dean, he and Dorinsky spent significant time last summer encouraging one another in conditioning routines. 

“They led our team in all the statistical categories,” Nance said. “We’ve only got 11 guys, but they’re the same 11. They (came to play) every day and that’s the best part about it. They’ve been dedicated.” 

Elijah Alexis Jr., one of four seniors for Beechcroft, helped the Cougars go 5-7 overall and 5-5 in the City-North this spring.

Beechcroft was seeded 18th for the Division II district tournament and was scheduled to open May 14 against 10th-seeded DeSales but was unable to play because of a lack of players that day. 

The Cougars, who finished 5-7 overall and 5-5 in the City-North, will lose Elijah Alexis Jr. (OF/P), Demetrius Haines (OF/P), Daniel Hernandez (INF/P) and Deajon Pratcher (OF/P) to graduation. 

Juniors Jayden Berry-Harris (3B), Jalen Leavell (C/OF), Maxwell Richardson (P/OF) and Kenichi Taylor (2B) and freshman Cameron Thompson (SS) should be the top returnees. 

Richardson hit .522 and Leavell batted .421.

Coach Brian Knisley, who also is the wrestling coach at Centennial and has coached a fall sport the past nine years, plans to devote more time in the offseason to baseball in an effort to help build the program. 

“We got a lot accomplished this year,” Knisley said. “We more than doubled our wins (from 2019), which is always good. This being the second year for the younger guys, I know we missed out on last year, but even having a second year and a third year for some of them has really started to help them get their fundamentals down.”

Wissman’s season 

ends at district 

Centennial senior Max Wissman’s prep boys tennis career ended with a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Wellington’s Sanjan Shanker on May 20 in the first round of the Division II district tournament at Columbus Academy. 

Wissman advanced to district by finishing third in a sectional May 13 and 15 at Academy.

“He’s really stepped up to the plate and has proven himself well,” coach Barbara Stevenson said.  

Centennial finished 2-1 in the City-North behind Whetstone, which went 3-0. The teams had their scheduled match get postponed three times and never ended up playing. 

The Stars, who went 5-5 overall, also will lose Aiden Gleckner and Aiden Ly to graduation. Juniors Ben Hendrichs and Meena Kalil and sophomores Jalen Davis and William Moore are eligible to return. 

“(Some of our players) were not athletes but they came out here and tried and helped us field a team,” Stevenson said. “I commend them because they worked hard and otherwise we wouldn’t have had a team without them, so I’m thankful for them.” 

Beechcroft went 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the City-North, and Northland finished 0-4 overall and in the City-North. 

Juniors Amani Lyles and Antwoin Reed Jr. should be the top returnees for the Cougars, who are losing one senior in Aaron Verma. Others eligible to return are junior Lord Boateng and sophomores Adeboye Adeagbo and Eric Mensah. 

Sophomore Davion Bridges played first singles for Northland, with sophomore Dominic Fritche at second singles. Junior Kevin White Jr. and sophomores Elijah Binford, Drew Roland and Latrell Ucker were others in the program. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek