Former Dayton Flyers to coach in state baseball final four

Huntington Park in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
Caption
Huntington Park in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Coldwater, Fort Loramie coaches were teammates at UD

Two alums of the Dayton Flyers baseball program, Coldwater’s Brian Harlamert and Fort Loramie’s Jeff Sanders, will coach in the state final four this week at Huntington Park in Columbus, and a year ago, another UD alum, Mike Wiss, coached Minster to a state baseball championship.

All three head coaches played together at Dayton in the early 1990s. Sanders graduated in 1993. Harlamert and Wiss graduated in 1994. In the 1991 UD team photo, all three sat in the third row.

» STATE PREVIEW: CJ, Coldwater, Fort Loramie pursue state titles

They continue to keep in touch and root for each other when they’re not playing each other. Fort Loramie beat Minster 7-5 in the Division IV regional semifinals last week, yet Wiss sent Sanders a text message on Tuesday to wish him luck in the state semifinals. Fort Loramie plays Garfield Heights Trinity at 10 a.m. Thursday.

“I sent him back a note saying thanks for everything,” Sanders said Wednesday during a conference call featuring all the head coaches in the state tournament. “Of course, Minster baseball kind of sets the bar. I hope Loramie is mentioned in that same sentence as well. We all want to see baseball in this area be top notch in the state of Ohio.”

Sanders, a 1989 Fort Loramie graduate who’s in his first year as head coach at the high school, pitched for the Flyers from 1990-93 and credits the experience for teaching him valuable life lessons. He remembers the 6 a.m. wake-up calls for workouts among other things.

“It’s true for sports and with everything in life,” Sanders said. “When you’re in high school and you graduate from high school, you think you know everything and you find out you don’t. When I got to experience college baseball, I realized there was a lot more to life and the game of baseball than I ever realized. At the time, Dayton went through some rough times, and they started recruiting from this area.”

» LOOKING BACK: Minster wins state title on walk-off hit

Harlamert remains the school’s all-time leader in games played (230) and ranks second in home runs (38). He was inducted into UD’s Hall of Fame in 2013. He has been the head coach at his alma mater, Coldwater, since 1998.

Harlamert and Wiss were housemates for three years at UD and were in each other’s weddings. Wiss, a 1989 Minster grad, has coached at his alma mater since 1995 and has coached against Harlamert many times over the years in the Midwest Athletic Conference.

“The friendships on and off the field are great,” said Harlamert, whose team plays Minford at 4 p.m. Thursday, “and the competition is just as good.”

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