OAK HARBOR BASEBALL coach Rob Schimmoeller is bringing stability to the Rocket program in his fifth season, bringing with him a 51-44 career record in his first four years.
Schimmoeller also has two years at Fremont Ross under his belt, and his Little Giants went 28-22 over that span.
At Oak Harbor, Schimmoeller’s assistants are Dale Mitchell, Nick Lance, and trainer Dan Hoover.
He’s expecting the Oak Harbor program to continue on its way up where it can compete at the top with regular Sandusky Bay Conference perennial baseball powers Perkins, Edison, and Margaretta.
“If we hit, we’ll finish in the top half,” Schimmoeller said. “Perkins and Edison have the most back and should make strong tournament runs.”
Last year, Oak Harbor was 12-9 overall and third in the SBC with a 9-5 record. Schimmoeller has six returning lettermen to help his team meet that mark or do even better.
Schimmoeller says his team’s strengths should be pitching and defense, and he’s seen signs of that in the Rockets’ early season contests. He says the team graduated its best hitters from last season.
“Through our four scrimmages, we’ve only made five errors and our top five pitchers have only given up eight runs,”
Schimmoeller said. “We’ve graduated the middle our lineup from last season. We’ll need to play low scoring games to be successful.”
One of those top hitters who graduated was Wade Ishmael, who won the Toledo Mud Hens’ third annual High School Home Run Derby last summer. Ishmael hit for an impressive 41 points — a new record — including six home runs. Ishmael batted .431 with four homers and 31 RBI last season for Oak Harbor.
This year’s Rockets are 1-2 overall early in the season, opening with a win over Monroeville, 7-1, stumbling late in losing to Fremont St. Joseph, 10-4, and lost to Genoa, 23-6.
Top players returning for Oak Harbor include senior Phil O’Shea (P/1B), senior Greg Diefenthaler (3B/P), senior Ryan Grof (P/1B), and sophomore Josh Warnke (SS/P). Diefenthaler was a Second Team All-SBC infielder last season, O’Shea a second team pitcher, and Warnke an honorable mention infielder.
At the plate, Schimmoeller expects Diefenthaler (.463 BA/1 HR/20 RBI), O’Shea (.362/20 RBI), and Warnke (.333/6 RBI) to be Oak Harbor’s best hitters, adding that he expects them to improve on last year’s stats.
His top pitchers are O’Shea (5-2 W-L/1.88 ERA/22 SO), Grof, Warnke, and Dillon Stiger (2-1/3.20) because of their experience last year, and says defensively Warnke and Diefenthaler are “solid” at shortstop and third base. Schimmoeller says Warnke has become one of the hardest working players on his team.
Schimmoeller has a corps of players who are showing signs they could contribute, including senior Bill Durivage (OF), junior Damian McAtee (C), sophomore D.J. Everett (P/IF), freshman Brian Mallernee (OF/P), and freshman Joey Mallernee (OF/C).
OAK HARBOR SOFTBALL has a new boss at the helm — first year coach Ashlee Donahoo.
Last year, the Rockets were 14-9 overall, 10-4 in the SBC, and lost in the first round of the sectional tournament. Donahoo will be assisted this season by Melissa Antry.
The Rockets have five returning lettermen and four seniors returning. Key players include senior pitcher Liz Weber, sophomore third baseman Julia Konieczny, and senior center fielder Melissa Florio.