The Owens Community College baseball program opened its home schedule against Bowling Green State University Club on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Express has four players returning from last year’s championship team, including Casey Winckowski (Clay) and Adam Brentlinger (Anthony Wayne).
In 2008, Winckowski, a sophomore infielder and pitcher, earned Ohio Community College Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference honors. He collected 26 hits and 10 RBIs and compiled a .491 batting average. In addition, Winckowski posted a 2-0 pitching record.
Brentlinger, a sophomore catcher and infielder, collected 20 hits and 13 RBIs and compiled a .476 batting average. In addition, he was an OCCAC Academic All-Conference selection.
Joining Winckowski and Brentlinger at Owens are first-year outfielder Tim DeCant (Lake); catcher Justin Adkins (Genoa); outfielder Michael Romano (Clay); infielder Ross Knierim (Clay); and pitcher Tom Wojciechowski (Genoa),
Bob Schultz (Waite) begins his seventh year as coach. In the past six years, he has guided the Express to four conference championships in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. Prior to his position as head coach, Schultz served as an assistant for five years under Coach Rich Pivorinius. Schultz’s assistant coaches are Gabe Medina and Tom DeMarco.
The Owens men’s baseball program finished the 2008 season with a 31-6-1 overall record and captured its seventh OCCAC (14-2 record) title in the program’s history. The conference championship is the fourth in the last five years. Owens Express men’s baseball, which was ranked ninth in the final NJCAA Division II poll, lost to Lakeland CC in the NJCAA Region XII Championships.
Early in the 2009 season, Owens has a compiled an 8-1 overall record following games played in South Carolina.
“Our coaching staff is very optimistic about this year’s team,” stated Schultz. “We have a great group of student-athletes who are extremely hard workers. They are also very unselfish and willing to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed.”
He added, “Overall, our club is relatively young with only four returning players. However, we are going to lean heavily on them to lead our talented freshmen group. Team defense and hitting will certainly be two of our strongest areas this season, while pitching will be a work in progress. From top to bottom, the OCCAC should be extremely competitive this year, and I expect the men’s baseball program to once again play a significant role in who wins the championship.”
Schultz’s squad also returns Craig Kidston of Bryan (North Central) and Brian Shafer (Clyde). Kidston, a sophomore pitcher and infielder, posted a 3-0 record and a 3.60 earned run average. He also recorded one save and 17 strikeouts. Shafer is a sophomore infielder. In 2008, he collected 11 hits, had 13 RBIs and compiled a .367 batting average.
First-year players to the Express men’s baseball program are infielder Jared Gibbons (West Carrollton); pitcher Eric Vaughan (Delta); pitcher Kevin Dorsten (Huber Heights Wayne); pitcher Neal Linthicum (Perrysburg); catcher Joe Maurer (Start); infielder Josh Stewart (Massillon Perry); infielder Ben Fox (Huber Heights Wayne); outfielder Bryan Daniel (Dayton Northmont); pitcher Nate Cress (Frankton, Ind.); pitcher Joel Gattoni (Thornhill, Canada, Langstaff Secondary School); pitcher Adam Bailey (Springboro); pitcher and infielder Ross Joost (Sherwood Fairview); outfielder Josh Newman (Dayton Northmont); infielder Joe Engle (Sidney); and infielder Bryan Bogart infield (Canal Winchester).
The Owens softball team opened its 2009 home season against Bowling Green State University Club on March 21 at noon.
The softball program is guided by sixth-year Head Coach Duane Lanham. His assistants are Michael Murphy and Kevin Snyder.
Express women’s softball completed the 2008 season with a 25-16 overall record and captured its sixth OCCAC (11-1 record) title in the program’s history. Owens was ranked No. 24 in the final NJCAA Division II poll and lost to Grand Rapids CC in the NJCAA Region XII Championships. The Express has captured three out of the last four OCCAC regular season championships (2005, 2006 and 2008).
Owens began its season on the road with games in Florida as part of the program’s annual spring break trip.
“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season,” said Lanham. “We have great veteran leadership from our returning players who know how to win. The team also has a very talented group of first-year players who will definitely contribute to our success. I would expect our team to once again be in the title hunt for another OCCAC championship.”
Owens has 11 players returning from last year’s championship team, including Danielle Hahn (Margaretta) and Melinda Johnson (Bellevue).
In 2008, Hahn, a sophomore outfielder, was named OCCAC Player of the Year. Her postseason accolades also included First Team OCCAC All-Conference and NJCAA All-Region XII, as well as the team’s Offensive Player of the Year award. She led the team with 48 hits, 16 stolen bases and a .429 batting average.
Johnson, a sophomore pitcher, compiled a 13-8 record, two saves and a 1.66 earned run average. Additionally, Johnson was a First Team OCCAC All-Conference and NJCAA All-Region XII selection and the OCCAC Pitcher of the Year. Her honors also included being named the team’s Most Improved Player award recipient.
Lanham’s squad also returns Katelyn Helminiak (Springfield), Amanda Hensley (Fremont St. Joe), catcher Lynsey McIntire (Eastwood), and Kayleigh Damron (Napoleon).
Local first-year players include catcher Christy Henneman (Lake); third baseman Lydia Eckel (Genoa). pitcher Aerica Susor (Genoa); and second basema Jolynn Brossia (Genoa).
Helminiak, a sophomore first basemen, earned First Team OCCAC All-Conference and OCCAC Academic All-Conference honors and was named the recipient of the team’s Defensive Player of the Year award. She was the team leader with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs.
Hensley is a sophomore outfielder and was a First Team OCCAC All-Conference selection last year. She collected 33 hits, had 19 RBIs and compiled a .375 batting average.
Damron, a sophomore catcher, earned the team’s Heart of the Champion Award last year. She collected 13 hits and eight RBIs and compiled a .260 batting average.
Other returning sophomore student-athletes to the Owens team also include shortstop Rachel Sepesy (Ida, Mich.); third baseman Aimee Stranyak (Ida); outfielder Kristina Kruzel outfield (Perrysburg); first baseman Jessica Russell (Whitmer); and pitcher Kendall Kulakowski (Whitmer).
First-year players to the Express women’s softball program are catcher Haley Whitcomb (Perkins); shortstop Sasha Matyi (Maumee); pitcher Chelsea Lingenfelter (Lima Shawnee); outfielder Kiley Thornton (Ida); third baseman Allison Braun (Celina); second baseman Christine Zappone (Springfield); catcher Magan Gerding (Northview); outfielder Heather Whitcomb (Perkins); and third baseman Amanda Temple (Whitmer).