NEW BOSTON — Baseball, at all levels, is back —early and even on time this springtime.
So too, baseball is back in the village of New Boston — in particular at Glenwood High School, home of the Tigers.
That’s correct, as America’s favorite past-time —and Ohio High School Athletic Association sanctioned springtime sport —has returned to Tiger territory, as New Boston officially fields a baseball team for the first time since 2015.
The Tigers, to play only 14 Southern Ohio Conference Division I varsity games for this season’s schedule, will play home games in New Boston’s Millbrook Park —the same home site for the Glenwood softball squad.
In a recent interview with head coach Adam Cox, the successful New Boston boys basketball head coach of the past five seasons, the former Tiger standout of the mid-1990s said a couple of his four-year basketball players’ favorite sport is baseball.
“We have some kids in our program that just really love the game. I just felt like it was something we could do for our kids, our community and our village and give our school another varsity sport, and another opportunity for our kids to get out and do stuff and be a team in the spring,” said Cox. “Track and field, although there are some team aspects, is more of an individual sport than baseball or softball. We wanted to give our kids an opportunity to do something else in the spring. It’s good to see that kids have an opportunity to play more than just soccer or basketball, and it gives some of them an opportunity to be good at a varsity sport that maybe basketball or soccer isn’t their strong point. They can have a chance to be really good at baseball.”
At the time Cox talked to The Portsmouth Daily Times, he said his numbers were around 15 or 16.
He has three seniors off his basketball bunch —Josh Tabor, Brady Voiers and Grady Jackson — but none of course have played high school baseball before.
Mark Rivers and Myles Beasley, both juniors, do have limited experience —albeit at other schools before this academic year.
“We don’t have anybody on the field that’s ever played a high school varsity baseball game,” admitted Cox.
With limited numbers, and especially pitching experience or depth, the Tigers elected to not play non-conference competition.
Instead, it’s all about bringing baseball back to New Boston — and developing for the future.
“We’re developing our pitching slowly, with kids working two or three innings apiece. We want to work to where next year we’re strong enough to possibly pitch complete games,” said Cox. “We’ll have pitch counts and really limit the kids on how much they throw. Just because it’s our first year. It’s going to be a challenge this year, but we’re coming along and getting better. Just being able to throw and catch a little bit better, and kids learning the game and understanding the concepts.”
A generation ago, in the 1990s, baseball was a lifeblood in New Boston —which Cox, a lifelong Tiger and proud alum himself, discussed at length.
Cox was a four-year starting infielder for the Tigers and head coach Don Gibson, playing shortstop for his final three seasons — after his freshman season at second base.
He said he grew up idolizing the all-time Cincinnati Reds’ great shortstop Barry Larkin.
New Boston even has a Little League World Series appearance to its credit —and a fifth-place finish for one summer.
He mentioned the likes of all-time Tiger talents Tim Harr, Scott Jenkins, Buddy Baker, Todd Loper, Josh Howard, Keenan Perry and Michael Pierce.
“There’s some history here with baseball, and it was pretty important here at New Boston at one time. We had some really good teams in the 80s. I grew up here and was playing T-ball and Little League when those guys were playing. I just remember how good I thought they were. Tim Harr was one of the best pitchers ever in New Boston history,” said Cox. “Lot of great players in our program. I want to bring it back to how Coach (Don) Gibson and Coach (Keith) Dettwiller had it at one point.”
Cox added that as part of the program’s comeback, there is an Independent League in New Boston — and although is not Little League chartered, “is trying to get some teams together to where they can get some games and get more people in our school involved.”
The coach commented further that although it’s a schedule juggle with his stepson’s AAU basketball team and his high school Tiger program, “it’s (baseball program) important to me and I feel obligated.”
“It’s just a goal of mine to do for this school and kids that have done so much for me in my lifetime. I love New Boston, I bleed Scarlet and Gray, and I was born a Tiger and I’ll die one,” explained Cox. “It’s important to a lot of people in our school district. A lot of people in New Boston like baseball and would like to take a walk in the park and just watch some innings.”
And, baseball —as an after-school extracurricular activity —aids in keeping youngsters on the straight and narrow.
“Baseball is another activity that keeps kids on the right track, and is a key to being a good community and village. There’s not many good athletes or a lot of kids that played sports in high school in prison. Sports really do keep kids out of trouble,” said Cox. “Baseball allows kids to make friends with other people, allows them to run around with their buddies, get out and enjoy the nice weather in the spring.”
Indeed, baseball is back on many levels —and especially is back at New Boston.
“We’ve set a team goal to win a game this year. We want to get our direction going in the right way. We have about five or six eighth-graders that are interested and we will only lose three seniors,” said Cox. “It’s going to be a little bit longer of a process, but we want to build something back strong in baseball here.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved