By Zach Backiewicz, ’19
After a deep run into Ohio’s Division I baseball tournament, the Upper Arlington varsity team ended their season after losing in the district finals to Lancaster by a score of 8-3. The team previously defeated Dublin Scioto and Gahanna Lincoln in the previous rounds of the playoffs, both resulting in walk-off hits by senior Mason Ward and Junior Ben Krimm. Even though the team failed to bring home a district title, it was the Golden Bears first appearance in a district final game since 2010, in which the team won the districts that year.
During the district finals game, the team was unable to hit runners in for a score which resulted in low productivity as a team. However, junior Ben Krimm had one of his better games resulting in two home-runs and a total of five RBI’s. Krimm was responsible for all of the runs scored by the Golden Bears.
For junior Jake Cannon, who was unable to play for the majority of the season due to a leg injury, watching Krimm’s performance was something he has never seen before.
“I thought it was a magnificent performance,” said Cannon. “It looked like he knew what he was finally swinging at and it gave life to the team after we were down.”
Cannon was one of the few varsity players who were injured for most of the season. Early on in the season, the Golden Bears lost junior and Wright State commits Sammy Sass as well as senior and Capital University commit Dakota Destefano. Losing all of these players were huge losses but other players we were willing to step up.
Despite ending the season earlier than the team wanted to, they still had an overall successful year for both as a team and individually. The team’s final record contained 21 wins over many of Ohio’s elite high school baseball team alongside only 8 losses.
“I thought the season was good since we started off rough but eventually got going as pitchers started pitching well and we started hitting good,” Cannon said.
Many of the varsity players OCC (Ohio Capital Conference) and district awards for their success throughout the year. First team, all OCC players included junior Tommy Dilz, seniors Kyle Hench and Mason Ward. The second team all OCC players were followed by senior and Ashland University commit Brandon Horsley, junior Ben Krimm, and junior Andrew Whetsell. Ethan Hammerberg was award OCC special and sophomore Jacob Leve was selected as an honorable mention. Tommy Dilz and Brandon Horsley also received the first team district award while Mason Ward was selected to be a district honorable mention.
Even though the team will lose a total of seven seniors, the team will be returning a lot of talented juniors, sophomores and even freshman that will hopefully maintain the level of success within the program.
Junior Cody Darling is hopeful that his class and other players will have a large impact on the program next year.
“I think we have a really talented incoming senior class next year that will hopefully make us a very deep team,” Darling said. “I think we will probably have another good season next year.”
For now, most of the varsity players will participate in summer baseball as well as strength training with the high school team. In the final Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Poll, Upper Arlington ended the season ranked 11th in division one.