It's a good thing Justin Lau and Ryan Gargas are good friends.
"We get along great,” said Lau, a 2008 Genoa High School grad. “We've been friends ever since middle school."
Lau and Gargas, who graduated from Genoa in 2007, took the reigns of Genoa's summer baseball team this year and led the Comets to a 12-6 record.
Lau’s father, Scott, an assistant baseball coach at Genoa, said that because coaches are only allowed to participate with players for 10 days during the summer, per Ohio High School Athletic Association rules, Genoa head coach Dan Thompson gave Scott Lau and Gargas the task of coaching the Comets’ summer team.
“They brought a little bit of everything teaching the kids," Scott Lau said of his son and Gargas. “This was the second year getting back into our true summer ball team. It fizzled out for a couple years, and since we took over as coaches we got the summer ball team back into swing.
“The turnout was very good. We averaged anywhere from 12-17 kids (every game).” Gargas, 19, is a catcher at Saginaw Valley State while Justin Lau will be a freshman at the University of Toledo this fall, although he is not playing any sports.
Lau, 18, said he intends to come back to help coach Genoa's varsity baseball team next spring, so this summer gave him a head start on what it¹s like to make coaching decisions.
“Going into it I thought it was going to be difficult, that they wouldn't listen to much we would say, but the players listened to us and took our advice,” Lau said. “You could tell they weren't doing their own thing. They were taking in what we were telling them."
Lau added that coaching “was a lot harder than I actually expected. You have to pay a lot more attention,” he said. “Instead of playing your position you have to be thinking what to do at all positions and get that across to them. You have to pay more attention to the whole game instead of just your area."
Lau said Thompson, who took over Genoa's program last spring, organized the summer squad.
“Once it got time for games, he let us go and do our own thing,” Lau said.
“He told us before the season what he expected from us. Unless one of us couldn't be there, he sat back and let us do the coaching."
The Comets competed in the ACME league, for incoming freshmen through seniors. They played against other ACME teams from Woodmore, Clay, Lake and Perrysburg.
In the ACME tournament, the Comets beat Oak Harbor and then Port Clinton before advancing to the districts at St. Francis de Sales, where they lost to St. Francis. Genoa then lost at Start to end its playoff run.
"For the most part we had a good year,” Lau said. “We got to play a lot of bigger Division I schools, and that's going to help us next year. Those teams are talented. When we play teams in our own division (III), we'll be that much better.
“We had our good games and our bad games. If our team showed up, we could hang with the Division I teams. There were other days we could have been beaten by anybody."
Genoa's top hitters this summer were seniors Beau Lamb and senior Zack Apel and junior Matt Bassitt. The top pitchers included Troy Espinoza, Bassitt and Lamb, who had not pitched until this summer.
"He was actually a nice surprise,” Lau said, ³so we're hoping to working him in a little bit next year."