High School baseball: Pitching depth has Beavercreek in hunt for GWOC title

Beavercreek senior Jake Woolf is 1-1 1 with a 1.07 ERA for the Beavers. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
Beavercreek senior Jake Woolf is 1-1 1 with a 1.07 ERA for the Beavers. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

BEAVERCREEK – Togetherness is one of the keys to the Beavercreek High School baseball team’s fast start. Coach Brandon Long’s players are willing to lend a hand in any way to help the team.

And even an arm.

The Beavers’ pitching staff has the team in the hunt for the Greater Western Ohio Conference with GWOC bests in ERA (0.78), strikeouts (74 in 63 innings) and shutouts (four).

“I think the GWOC top to bottom is probably better this year than it’s been in a long time,” Long said. “A lot of good arms and a lot of college signees on the mound.”

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Beavercreek has four of those pitching signees among the seven Beavers committed to college programs. Kenny Blackmore (Clark State), Charlie Schafer (Wittenberg University), Jake Woolf (California University of Pennsylvania) and A.J. Wolf (Wilmington College) have combined for six of the Beavers’ nine wins.

Schafer is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 17 innings. He’s followed by Blackmore (1-0, 0.00 ERA; 9 Ks in eight IP), Woolf (1-1, 1.07 ERA; 12 K’s in 13 IP) and Wolf (1 save, 0.00 ERA in 2 IP).

Junior Blake Werry is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 17 innings.

“I’m most pleased with our first-pitch strike ratio,” said Long, adding the Beavers have walked 11 batters in 70 innings. “If you get ahead good things happen. High school baseball starts with pitching.”

Beavercreek’s offense, meanwhile, leads the league in runs (67), RBI (58), stolen bases (27) and is fourth in average (.300). Junior Sean McCray (.500), Blackmore (.467) and Schafer (.444) pace the offense.

In addition to those college commitments from the pitchers, Addison Culpepper (VMI), Ian Long (Cedarville University) and Carter Jewell (Lincoln Trail CC) also plan to play at the next level.

“One thing they’ve developed playing together over these years is a mutual expectation of hard work,” Long said. “They hold each other accountable and they root for each other. … Just that close-knit group is hard to replicate.

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“Top to bottom great guys. There’s not one guy more valuable to us than another. We can plug and play guys around.”

Beavercreek has a key GWOC series coming up with Centerville (8-2 overall, 3-1 GWOC). Beavercreek hosts Centerville on Friday, is at Cincinnati Oak Hills on Saturday and travels to Centerville on Monday.

* Tippecanoe coach Bruce Cahill earned his 700th career victory following a 12-6 victory against Piqua on Wednesday. Cahill, who has been a head coach at Tipp for 35 of his 37 seasons, ranks No. 11 all-time on the OHSAA career wins list. HE’s

Also for the Red Devils, senior Jonny Baileys tied the program’s single-season record with his fifth triple of the season in seven games. Baileys is hitting .7-6 (12-for-17) with three doubles and a homer, too.

Junior Matt Salmon (3-0, 0.00 ERA; 27 K’s in 16 innings) took a perfect game into the seventh inning against West Carrollton on Tuesday. He allowed three hits and struck out 17 in the 2-0 win.

* Dayton Christian junior Naaman Anderkin tossed a no-hitter against National Trail to open the season. He struck out 10 and walked six in the 8-0 win. Anderkin hasn’t allowed a run in 12 innings. He’s 2-0 with 18 strikeouts and two shutouts.

* Covington senior Jake Hamilton tossed a perfect game in a 6-0 win against Tri-Village on April 8. Hamilton is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

* Following an 0-6 start against area powers Lakota East, Tippecanoe and Butler, Stebbins has since won three of its last four games entering Wednesday. Two of those victories were in extra innings and all three were by one run.

Senior Deonta Banks has been solid at shortstop and leads the Indians with a .321 average. Junior catcher Jake Downey had a four-game hitting streak going and junior centerfielder Matt Bowling has paced the defense.

* West Carrollton has shown signs of improvement under first-year coach Les Lairson, most notably at 2-0 loss against Miami Valley League power Tippecanoe.

The Pirates are young with one senior among its 11 players. Losing the 2020 season to cancelation didn’t help the Pirates’ returning experience. Junior Jacob Hudepohl leads the Pirates with a .391 average.

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