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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Northwood's baseball team is out of the running for a state baseball title, but the Rangers still have a shot of winning a Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship.

Second-year coach Dave Russell's squad was ousted in the Division IV sectional title game on Tuesday with a 10-2 loss to TAAC rival Ottawa Hills. The Rangers' record dipped to 10-9 with the loss.

"We just didn't get timely hitting," Russell said. "They roughed up Tyler (Seibert) a little bit. His breaking stuff wasn't getting over and he was relying on his fastball, and they had some big hits. We had some errors that compounded things.
"Ottawa Hills is a good team and if they're sitting on fastballs, which they were, they were just teeing off on it."

Northwood still has time to get back on track in the TAAC. The Rangers hosted Cardinal Stritch on Thursday and travel to Ottawa Hills for a Saturday doubleheader.

"Our league (schedule) is really backed up right now because of the rain," Russell said. "We play Toledo Christian yet again, we have Ottawa Hills twice and we have to play Stritch twice yet, and Maumee Valley. The whole league is like that."

The Rangers (4-2 TAAC) still have a shot at a conference title, although unseating Toledo Christian, which is unbeaten in TAAC play, will be difficult.

"We're right in it," Russell said. "We were talking about it (Tuesday), that we still have a chance. That's something to hang our hat on with our seniors, that they still have some ball to play. It's a good group of seniors. Hopefully, we can make some noise in the league."

Northwood won its first sectional game May 9, beating Cardinal Stritch 9-3 as senior shortstop Alex Williams went 2-for-4 with a home run, his first of the season, and two RBI. Seibert, a senior right-hander, went the distance and earned the win, allowing two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts.

Williams is 1-1 on the mound with a 1.93 ERA and is hitting .303.

"Alex Williams has stepped up and led by example," Russell said. "He's a quiet guy, but the kids look up to him. He got in a car accident (Tuesday), but he was at the game. He might have a concussion. He had some dizziness, so we held him out. We had to move some guys around in the sectional final."

Russell said Williams and fellow seniors Andy Jardy, a second baseman, Seibert and outfielders Kevin Yarger and Mike Smothers have given the Rangers solid leadership all season.

"I can’t be any more happier with them," the coach said. "We're still quite young. We have a boatload of sophomores and a lot of them play. I was looking for our seniors to show them the way, and they've done a good job of that this year."

Seibert, a second-team All-TAAC performer last year, is the Rangers' top pitcher and has a 4-4 record. He also plays first base and is batting .349.

"He is similar to Jardy in that he's one of first guys out on the field and the last to leave," Russell said. "He worked extremely hard in the weight room in the off season and that's paid off."

Sophomore left-hander Cameron Juhasz, who pitched on the varsity a year ago, is 4-0 with a 2.01 ERA. He has 32 strikeouts in 22 innings.

"He has a lot of movement on his fastball, and his change-up and slider are pretty good for a sophomore," Russell said. "He worked his rear end off in the weight room and picked up a lot of velocity on his fastball. He's a great first baseman, too."

Northwood's top hitters are sophomore left fielder John Romstadt (.409) and sophomore third baseman Ben Wilson, who is batting .375 with two home runs.

Russell said the Rangers, who went 9-14 last season, look solid for the future.
"A lot of that is we have a good group of kids who work really hard, not only during the year but in the off season," he said. "We have a strong off season strength and conditioning program. Most of these guys hit it pretty hard and its showing up."