Four local schools to be represented at World Series
Several baseball players from The Press coverage area will have a say in how
the LineDrive Sportz NABF College World Series plays out this year in Toledo.
The World Series will be held Aug. 6-9 at Ned Skeldon Stadium, Owens Community College, Bowman Park and the University of Toledo's Scott Park.
Two teams that feature local players, the Ohio Monarchs Gold team and the Ohio Monarchs Blue team, qualified for this year's Series. Last year the Monarchs Gold beat the Long Island (N.Y.) Astros in the title game.
The Monarchs Gold and Blue teams are members of the Toledo Amateur Baseball Federation.
"If we get timely hitting and good pitching, we should be all right," Gold coach Ed Mouch said. "The kids are getting excited about it. No one has repeated in this thing, so they have talked about the idea of repeating. It's challenging because of all the good teams that come in. We're looking forward to it. If we get the pitching and hitting we're capable of, we're as capable of winning it as anybody."
The Monarchs Gold will play in Group B, and Monarchs Blue will compete in Group D. The only way the two teams could meet in the World Series would be in the championship game.
"This is huge for these guys," Monarchs Blue coach Tim Matthews said. "It's different when you get to play teams from New York and some of these other teams. You play against some really good athletes. Some kids are drafted.
"The way some of the other kids talk, they have accents and it's interesting. The
guys look forward to it because baseball is a universal sport and you get to run into things you haven't seen. The kids can't wait, because what we did during the regular season doesn't mean anything."
A few players on the Monarchs Blue, which was 21-20 through Monday, played for the Ohio Trojans summer team that went 11-1 and won the CABA World Series in Illinois in 2007. The Monarchs Blue went 3-2 and lost to the Long Island Astros in last year's NABF World Series quarterfinals.
The Monarchs Blue roster includes local products Alex Timofeev from Clay, Cody Fisher from Gibsonburg, Cody McPherson and Shane Pfouts from Lake and Chris Bassitt from Genoa.
The Monarchs Gold features last year's World Series MVP, Cory Horynak, from Genoa, Casey Winckowski from Clay and Curtice native Ben Kauder from St. John's Jesuit.
Timofeev (6-0, 170), a first baseman, will be a junior at Defiance College this fall. In 34 games he is batting .257 (19-for-74) with two doubles, 11 runs, 11 RBI, 15 walks and eight hit by pitch.
"Alex is all about durability," Matthews said. "Defensively, he's our most solid player and he makes spectacular plays. He got hit by a pitch on his thumb on a Saturday and we thought he broke his thumb.
t turned black, but he was in the starting lineup on the following Monday. He pulled his hamstring last year and did everything he could to play in every game."
Fisher (5-10, 180), a right-handed pitcher, will be a sophomore at Ohio Northern University. In 13 games Fisher (2-2) has pitched a team-high 35 2/3 innings and has a 6.81 ERA. He has allowed 31 runs (27 earned), with 25 walks and 32 strikeouts.
"He throws hard and has a great breaking ball," Matthews said. "He's willing to do anything for the team. He'll throw at any time. Has a little bit of a rising fastball. His stats are deceiving. With only 35 innings, if you have one or two bad outings where maybe you give up four runs in a couple innings, that can make your ERA look kind of misleading."
McPherson (6-4, 195) is a right-handed pitcher/outfielder who was voted Freshman of the Year at Bluffton last year. In 36 games he is batting .343 (34-for-99) with six doubles, three triples, one home run, 19 RBI, 16 runs and six walks.
On the mound he is 1-1 with two saves and a 2.04 ERA in nine appearances covering 17 2/3 innings. McPherson has allowed eight runs (four earned), with nine walks and five strikeouts.
Pfouts (5-10, 215) is a right-handed pitcher/outfielder who will be a junior at Urbana University. Pfouts has pitched in seven games covering 24 innings and is 2-2 with one save and a 4.12 ERA. He has allowed 14 runs (11 earned), nine walks and struck out 20.
Matthews said Pfouts will start on the first day of the World Series.
"Shane is one of the old-school pitchers," Matthews said. "He throws real low to the ground where he almost scrapes his knee. He has an outstanding change-up that almost falls off the table. He's one of those guys you can put out there and he never gets tired. He gets stronger as the game goes on. He's pitched for me for three years; he was our No. 1 last year."
Bassitt (6-5, 180) is a right-hand pitcher who will be a junior at the University of Akron. He has two saves in 10 innings of work, with 17 strikeouts, six walks and four hits allowed.
"Chris throws smoke," Matthews said. "He has a great offspeed breaking ball, but he throws hard. He has to be reaching 90. His breaking ball looks like his fastball - very deceptive. He played for me last year and my catchers complain in the bullpen because they say he throws 112 mph. He's going to be my closer in the World Series because he's very intimidating."