Golden Eagles determined to turn things around


The Big Walnut baseball team struggled to hit its stride last season, which could mean good things this time around.

“Last year, we didn’t finish how we would have liked, fueling this year’s seniors and giving them motivation to be part of a positive change for their school,” Golden Eagle coach Jack Schone said. “I would say the key word for this year’s seniors would be accountability. They do want this year to be different, all the way from the dugout to the locker room.

“They want to build something they can be proud of, leaving their footprint for the younger Eagles to follow.”

Big Walnut has eight seniors back in the fold, including Ethan Clawson, Cam Gladden and Drew Gaskins. All three earned all-league honors a season ago, with Gaskins and Gladden headed to play collegiately at Oakland and Wittenberg, respectively.

Other returning seniors include Lorne Anderson, Noah Clawson, Eli Couser, Teddy Dancer and Brad Kildoo. Senior Josh Shick, who was hurt last year, will also contribute.

Noah Clawson will headline the rotation, with Couser and newcomers James Stein, Jordan Shicks and Nick Weis looking to contribute behind him.

Schone said he likes his arms, and will be interested to see how they perform in big spots.

“Pitching will be key, but is still a bit unclear,” he said. “Noah pitched very well in his last outing against New Albany, and we know he expects himself to keep that momentum. Beyond that, mound presence is key … we just don’t know how our kids will perform. We have three pitchers who will experience their first varsity opportunities on the mound.”

Fortunately, experience should offset the inexperience, Schone said. He likes his kids’ makeup between the ears.

“We have speed, some power and a lot of baseball common sense,” he said. “Our team’s baseball IQ is high and leadership has been very consistent and strong. Everything we do will revolve around we over me. This season can be anything they wish it to be … so what do they want it to look like?”

Big Walnut will open the season March 25 at Johnstown-Monroe before taking on Buckeye Valley at home a couple days later. OCC play gets underway against Delaware Hayes April 10 in Sunbury.

“The OCC is always a talented league,” Schone said. “We have our work cut out for us with so many returning good players and teams. Here’s the thing, though, we are a very good team, too. I think at times last season we lost that piece. They’ve been working very hard so far, and we’re excited to see just how much these kids believe in themselves and each other.”

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