New coach brings plenty of experience to Pacers


By Ben Stroup - [email protected]



When Delaware Hayes hired Dave Meikrantz to lead its baseball program after former coach Ryan Montgomery was pegged to be the school’s next football coach, it was kind of like getting four coaches for the price of one.

Meikrantz may be new to the role of head coach, but coaching has been a part of his life for quite some time.

“My coaching journey started in Gaffney, South Carolina in 2014 immediately following my playing career at Limestone College,” Meikrantz said. “I spent three years at Gaffney High, under head coach Jeff Osment, as the varsity pitching coach for one year and the head JV coach for two years.

“My wife and I then moved to central Ohio, where she is originally from. I spent three years at Bishop Watterson, under head coach Scott Manahan, as a head freshman coach for two years and the varsity pitching coach, under head coach Jeff Boulware, for one year. Following that I spent a year and a half at Dublin Coffman, under Drew Kirby, as the varsity pitching coach before accepting the head coaching position at Delaware Hayes in early February.

“I’ve worked for four totally different head coaches, all of whom I respect greatly and lean on for advice all the time. All four of those coaches have made a huge impact in my life and have all led extremely successful programs.”

Meikrantz, who inherited a fairly experienced roster, hopes to be able to do the same at Delaware.

“This is shaping up to be a great year for the Pacers,” he said. “We return some big pieces and have some guys ready to contribute in a major way for the first time at the varsity level. Eight seniors will be the backbone of this year’s success, many of whom bring valuable experience to the table. Brennan Green is a four-year varsity guy and will anchor our lineup; Austin Dowell is a third-year varsity player and will be a big part of our success on the mound, in the infield, and offensively. Turner Ashby, Tyler Bunten, Braden Krauss, Bryan Skedell, Sam Tedeschi and Hunter Woolum all bring varying experience to our program, but will all contribute throughout the year in a variety of roles.”

Junior Kaden Curran and sophomore Bryden Decaminada are both returning lettermen who Meikrantz will lean on as key cogs while juniors Dalton Allen, Hayden Breitsch, Kaden Gannon, Nathan Graham, Nikese McCollum, Patrick Mosser and sophomore Colin Milligan will look to contribute as well.

“Offensively, I think we can compete — one through nine — in our league,” Miekrantz said. “We have a good mix of power, speed, ability to bunt and play small ball. If we have a team approach at the plate and can move runners and have quality at-bats, our offense will give us a chance day in and day out.”

The defense will be anchored by Green and Skedell, both senior catchers.

“I’m confident in our ability to compete at a high level behind the plate,” the coach said. “Infield and outfield play has really come into form in the past week or two and I’m excited to see how these guys can gel as a group. I think our biggest strength defensively is that a lot of guys are very versatile and can play anywhere on the field … we have some very unselfish guys that are willing to play anywhere to benefit the team’s success.

“Pitching, we have a few guys at the top end of our rotation, including two sophomores (Decaminada and Milligan) that I believe can compete with anyone, after that we have a mix of guys that bring value in different ways whether that be a unique arm angle, or interesting pitch combinations, or the ability to locate in and out, up and down.”

Hayes opens the season Saturday against visiting Olentangy. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m.

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By Ben Stroup

[email protected]