Lima, OH – The 2012 Barons baseball team will be getting their earliest ever start to their season this weekend with 3 games scheduled to be played at St. Catharine College in Springfield, KY. Saturday, February 25th, the Barons will be taking on Benedictine University-Springfield in their first game of the season, immediately following that game will be a matchup with host St. Catharine, the Barons will then play 1 more game on Sunday with St. Catharine to complete the weekend set.
“It is always a goal of ours to schedule the best competition around. St. Catharine and Benedictine Springfield are both excellent programs, playing them will be a great way for us to find out where we are as a team in a lot of ways. Also, the opportunity to go a few hours south and play ball in February is extremely valuable to our team as we will now be on par with some of our rivals.” Said Head Coach Abe Ambroza.
The 2012 edition of Barons baseball is one that has a lot of high hopes. Following two consecutive successful seasons, anything short of excellence will be a disappointment. With a strong core of returning players plus a very talented crop of freshmen, this Barons team should be fun to watch all year! “We are extremely excited to get in to action. We’ve had two good years in a row, but this program wants to be a champion, and that is our goal this year, to win a regular season ORCC crown as well as the 2012 ORC Tournament Title. Obviously, there are eight other programs in our conference with those same goals right now though, so it’s up to us to step up our game every day and find a way to make our goals reality.” Said Ambroza.
The Barons are returning 5 members of last year’s ORC Tournament Runner Up team. The two lone Juniors are Ryan Kortokrax and Tyler Slonecker. Kortokrax, a graduate of Delphos Jefferson High School, has spent his last 9 plus months recovering from a knee surgery that shortened his 2011 season. Before the injury, Kortokrax was having a breakout sophomore season, batting .409 with a slugging of .606 and 16 RBI in just 66 at bats which helped earn him ORCC first team recognition. Slonecker, a graduate of Kenton High School, was a member of the 2010 ORCC first team. Slonecker’s sophomore season started off slowly, but once the temps started to raise, so did Slonecker’s avg as his batting avg the final month of the season was .477, raising his total average to .322. Slonecker was 2nd on the team in stolen bases with 13.
The three sophomores returning for the Barons are Kyle Hall, Russell Lammers, and David Spearman. Spearman, a graduate of Sidney Lehman Catholic, was a member of the 2011 ORCC First Team. The Barons shortstop batted .429 and had a slugging percentage of .699. Spearman also led the team in stolen bases with 19. Hall, a Pandora Gilboa graduate was a defensive standout for the Barons in center field as he led the team in OF assists with five. At the plate, Hall had a season of opportune power, actually hitting more extra base hits than singles. Lammers, a graduate of Miller City High School, had a freshman season that saw him develop in to one of the best pitchers in the ORCC. Lammers’ ERA of 3.92 is a bit misleading due to some early struggles. In the final game of the season, Lammers was on the hill and held the Harriers of MU Hamilton to one run in the championship game. The Barons are hoping he can build on that success in 2012. Offensively, Lammers was steady with a batting average of .298 and will be seen as the Barons third baseman on most days he is not pitching.
New to the Barons in 2012 will be a dozen freshmen. OF - Andrew Clevenger (Elida High School), 3B – Cody Dukes (Miller City High School, 2011 2nd Team All Ohio, 2011 Putnam County League 1st Team, 2010 Putnam County League Honorable Mention), IF/OF – Anthony Theaker (Maumee High School, 2011 All Academic Honors), C – Jordan Selhorst (Leipsic High School, 2009 Putnam County League 1st Team, 2009 Honorable Mention Blanchard Valley Conference), IF/OF – Drew Biss (Shawnee High School, 2010 3rd Team Western Buckeye League, 2010 3rd Team All District), OF/LHP – Derrick Pease (Paulding High School, 2011 Northwest Conference 1st Team, 2010 Northwest Conference 2nd Team), LHP/1B – Ashton Duer (Wayne Trace High School, 2011 and 2010 Green Meadows Conference 1st Team), 3B/C – Michael Wood (New Knoxville High School, 2008 1st Team Midwest Athletic Conference, 2009 2nd Team Midwest Athletic Conference), LHP/1B – Addison Wolf (New Knoxville High School, 2011 Midwest Athletic Conference 1st Team, 2010 Midwest Athletic Conference 2nd Team), LHP – Bill Frey (Troy High School), C – Ryne Jerome (Wayne Trace High School, 2011 Green Meadows Conference 2nd Team), OF – Michael Baldauf (Parkway High School)