Most seasons have their ups and downs. The Notre Dame Titans felt both extremes in a year that turned out to be filled with accomplishments for the baseball program.
The Titans finished the year with an 18-6 record. However, four of those loses came in the first week of the season when Notre Dame traveled to Florida to play in a tournament.
Since returning to Ohio, the Titans only tasted defeat twice while running the table in the SOC I, which was the second time in four years under Drew Mader’s tutelage.
Notre Dame, who finished has the No. 6 ranked team in the final state rankings in division IV, only allowed 10 earned runs during conference play, which included 11 complete-game shutouts.
“The kids battled day in and day out for me, they showed great discipline all year long and really bought into what we were telling them,” Mader said.
Hayden Baker was named SOC Player of the Year after tearing through SOC opponents, with the highlight coming in the SOC championship game where Baker threw a no-hit shutout.
While Baker received Player of the Year, sophomore CJ Corns was named SOC Pitcher of the year. Pitching was considered a strength for the Titans at the beginning of the season and it didn’t disappoint.
“This year our pitching was dominate, only giving up runs in eight of ours games, and when your pitchers can throw strikes, success will follow,” Mader said. “Three of our five pitchers this year were sophomores and racked up a total of 10 wins.”
The Titans started four sophomores — Tyler Speas, Billy Book, Drew Cassidy and CJ Corns — but Mader said they played more like upperclassman.
And the three seniors — Baker, Chase Rodriguez and Brandon Lansing — were instrumental in the development of the younger players.
“That is what you need when you have a young driven team like ours was,” Mader said. “We lose three tremendous seniors who we’re going to miss. Those three together made coaching baseball less like a job and more an enjoyable experience, and I want to wish the best.”
Baker, who signed to play at Asbury University, also was an All-State selection this year, along with Lansing.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” Mader said. “Those two have worked their butts off for me all four years and they have received the recognition that they deserved.”
Despite the district loss, Mader was elated with his team’s accomplishments this season.
“All-in-all, this season was very successful, we captured another SOC title, we won our sectional and advance to districts, but unfortunately came up short.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.