Patriots will lean on pitching, experience

By Ben Stroup

March 30, 2014

When it comes to high school baseball, pitching and experience can do wonders for a team … Liberty has both.

The Patriots, who finished 19-10 overall and tied for second in the OCC-Central Division with a 9-5 league mark last season, return a solid group of players — a crew led by its seniors.

“Our seniors have taken ownership of getting better everyday,” Patriot coach Ty Brenning said. “This group is very goal oriented and has been relentless in the pursuit of excellence. They have shown great maturity in the way they approach practice, and games. This is a very detailed group.”

Senior returners include pitcher/outfielder Jacob Niggemeyer, outfielder Danny Kirchner, pitcher/third baseman Mitchell Griffiths, outfielder Marcus Wechselberger, catcher Matt Matthaes, lefty Cameron Vogt, back-up catcher Steven Meegan and righty Nick Newton. Neggemeyer was an All-Ohio selection last season, Kirchner nabbed All-District recognition and Griffiths was an Honorable Mention All-OCC pick.

The junior class also returns quite a bit of talent, including the likes of shortstop Cameron Comer, first baseman/pitcher AJ Kullman, third baseman/pitcher Nick Parr and second baseman Charlie Lutwen.

Juniors Alec Ross, Justice Griebel and Matt McPheron and sophomores Mason Groves, Jordan Seich and Spencer Yankle will also start the season with the varsity squad, Brenning said.

As mentioned, pitching and experience are obvious strengths. To fully realize their potential, though, the Patriots will have to back up their arms with solid defense and run support.

“We will need to play good defense behind strong pitching, and be able to create runs against good competition in our division of the OCC,” Brenning said. “We will need to be able to make gains in all phases of the game throughout the year. Our commitment to continued growth will be a point of emphasis this year.

“We play in a great baseball division. Marysville, (Hilliard) Davidson, (Dublin) Coffman, Upper Arlington and Thomas (Worthington) are all very competitive every year. The teams are all very competitive and play a high level of baseball … we look forward to the challenge.”