Walsh baseball team finishes season with 26-1 record
CUYAHOGA FALLS — Walsh Jesuit High School baseball head coach Chris Kaczmar said he couldn’t have been more proud of what his team was able to accomplish this season.
“Our season was one of the most historic in the history Walsh Jesuit High School — in a positive way,” he said. “We had one of the teams that I will remember the most in terms of great chemistry and players who truly cared for one another. I mean that sincerely and it’s not just ‘coach speak.’ It was a tangible thing every single day. The players legitimately enjoyed each other’s company and the whole was truly greater, in this instance, than the sum of the parts. We had great leadership and each and every one bought into their role, and the results speak to that end.”
The North Coast League champions finished with a 26-1 overall record and a 9-0 league mark.
“Juniors Ty Shoaff and Ryan Feltner are our two primary pitchers, our two starters, and they had phenomenal performances in the postseason,” Kaczmar said. “Ty Shoaff is a University of Missouri recruit and Ryan Feltner is an Ohio State University recruit and they both just had tremendous seasons overall. They were remarkable in the postseason and led us to the district championship game.”
Entering the district title game May 20 vs. Hudson, the Warriors were the No. 1-ranked Division I team in the state.
“We really only had one bad inning all year and it just so happened to be our final inning,” Kaczmar said. “We had the lead in the district championship game. We played a good Hudson team and we had some things that didn’t go our way in the final.”
The game was tied 3-3 after seven innings, but Walsh lost 8-3 after surrendering five runs in the top of the eighth inning.
“In a one-and-done tournament, it’s tough because anything can happen on any particular day, and on that particular day it did,” the coach said. “Overall, it was a very rewarding season and we played well to get ourselves into that position.”
According to Kaczmar, the team got strong performances this season out of a trio of senior captains: second baseman Nate Romans, third baseman Kyle Hodsworth and pitcher Trevor Ray.
“They were there together every step of the way,” the coach said. “They were guys the younger guys really looked up to, and the captains treated our younger players with a great deal of respect. They did things the right way.”
One of the team’s notable strengths this season, Kaczmar said, was its depth.
“That’s one of the things I’ve talked about a lot this year,” he stated. “We got contributions from so many different people on the team. Tim Benner, our closer, had a remarkable year. Riley Minorik has really emerged as a tremendous shortstop prospect in the state of Ohio.”
At the plate, Kaczmar said, the team was led by Dominic Canzone, Blake Jenkins, Dominic Mittiga and Romans.
“Those four players led the way offensively for us with just some astounding numbers,” he said. “Both Blake and Dominic Mittiga batted over .500 on the year. Dominic Canzone was a first-year starter as a sophomore and he was arguably our most improved player, with the year that he had both offensively and defensively.”
With most of the players from this year’s team set to return next year, Kaczmar said “the future is extremely bright” for the Walsh baseball program.
“The bulk of our starting lineup returns — our entire outfield, most of our infield, our catcher, our top two starting pitchers — so we are extremely enthusiastic and already looking forward to 2015,” he said.
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