Zak Farmer led Lakota West at the plate in batting average (.411) and on the mound in wins (7). Photo taken at a game earlier this spring by Adam Kiefaber.
A total of 13 Lakota high school ballplayers were recently selected to the Greater Miami Conference first and second teams. Lakota East had five first-team selections, while Lakota West had two.
Making the first team from Lakota East were junior Drew Baker (led team with 7 wins), junior Brett Colburn (hit .291), senior Michael Conrad (struck out 100 batters in 61.1 innings), senior Alex Corna (led GMC with 7 home runs) and senior Blake Wilder (led team in at-bats, hits, doubles and runs batted in).
Lakota West honorees included senior Troy Dombart (led team in runs batted in) and senior Zak Farmer (led team in batting average and in wins).
Second-team selections include junior Adam Delaet and freshman Hayden Senger, both of Lakota East; and freshman Austin Allinger, junior Mike Anderson, sophomore Grant Schuermann and senior Jake Wagner, all from Lakota West.
Overall, in the standings, Lakota West (18-12 overall, 13-5 in the GMC) finished second in the GMC and Lakota East (16-14 overall, 10-8 in the GMC) finished fourth in the conference.
Both teams lost to Moeller in the regional playoffs.
Lakota East senior Michael Conrad, who will continue his baseball career at UC, struck out 100 batters and had a 1.83 earned run average in 61.1 innings in 2012. Photo taken by Tony Tribble.
For the second time this week, Moeller eliminated a Lakota high school from the postseason. On Thursday, Moeller defeated Lakota West by the score of 11-2 in the sectional finals. Then on Saturday, the Crusaders eliminated the defending Division I state champs in Lakota East by the score of 7-2 in the district finals.
Moeller jumped out to a 5-0 lead against the Thunderhawks Saturday, by scoring three runs in the first inning and two more in the second.
Senior Ryan LeFevers went 2-for-3 and scored two runs, while junior Spencer Iacavone went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in. Sophomore Zack Shannon added a double, two RBIs, as Moeller improved to 22-5.
Lakota East finishes the season with a 16-14 overall record and a 10-8 mark within the Greater Miami Conference. Accomplishments this season include a sectional championship in the postseason, a seven-game winning streak in April and the setting of the school district career strikeout record by senior pitcher Michael Conrad.
The team, which has four seniors on its roster, will have two players competing at the Division I level in college in Conrad (University of Cincinnati) and Alex Corna (Ohio University).
Nine Lakota East student athletes were honored during a signing day event at Lakota East High School May 16, 2012. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber of WestChesterBuzz.com.
Lakota East High School honored nine student athletes Wednesday during its spring signing day event. Among those recognized include Jacob Landers (Baldwin Wallace College, wrestling), Ivan Thomas (Kentucky Christian University, football), Tyler Overberg (College of Mount St. Joseph, golf), Morgan Weinheimer (University of Mississippi, volleyball), Jeff Mundy Jr. (Kentucky Christian University, football), Tanner Lyons (Centre College, track and field), Aleth Pashi (Otterbein University, basketball), Jacqui Tackett (Mount St. Joseph, lacrosse) and Molly Blomer (Nova Southeastern University, basketball).
“It was awesome. I was excited to see all my friends sign,” said Weinheimer, who was also considering Wright State University and Xavier University, among others. “It’s exciting because I want to see them do big things.”
The 5’4″ Weinheimer, who played the libero position for the Thunderhawks, was a first team All-GMC selection in 2011. She also led the GMC with 5.34 digs per game.
Her senior volleyball classmates, Hannah Berling (Tusculum College), Hannah Sigala (Morehead State University), Lauren Beitel (Otterbein) and Emily Bostian (Otterbein) were all honored at a signing day event Feb. 1. In addition to the seniors, junior teammates Ali Lake (Ohio University) and Ashley Evans (Purdue University) have verbally committed to programs.
Joining Weinheimer at Wednesday’s signing were basketball players Aleth Pashi and Molly Blomer. In February, their teammates Alyssa Grevenkamp (University of Findlay) and Whitney Wyckoff (Yale University) were also recognized.
Also on Wednesday, two senior football players, offensive lineman Ivan Thomas and defensive back Jeff Mundy Jr., signed on to play at the same college – Kentucky Christian University.
“They (KCU) are going to receive two good players, two good people and hopefully they will leave the program better than they left it,” Lakota East head football coach Rick Haynes said.
“It is always great to see guys forward their careers and move on to the next level. I think, both of them, as long as they put in the time and effort are going to have success.”
Other Lakota East senior student athletes, who were recognized for continuing their athletic careers in college in February, include Zach Mueck (Xavier, tennis) Michael Conrad (University of Cincinnati, baseball), Alex Corna (Ohio, baseball), Michaela Buczek (Mount St. Joseph, lacrosse), Ainsely Ellison (Hillsdale College, softball), Sofey Fugate (Heidelberg University, tennis), Jessika Hall (Michigan State University, swimming), Tori Meyer (Albright College, lacrosse), Mark Minch (Ohio Dominican University, basketball), Tony O’Connor (Northern Kentucky University, cross country/track) and Joe Postlewait (Walsh University, lacrosse)
Lakota East, the defending Division I state champions, continued its climb up the Greater Miami Conference standings with a 5-2 win Friday against a Fairfield team that is moving in the opposite direction.
Last spring’s Enquirer baseball player of the year, Lakota East senior Michael Conrad, gave up only four hits, walked one and struck out eight in his fourth win of the season.
“We were pitching him once a week and he said that he felt terrible, so I said ‘let’s try twice a week,’” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said of Conrad, who also pitched Monday. “He looked good today. He looked real good.”
While the Thunderhawks won behind their star player, the Indians have now lost seven straight games since the injury of their senior ace and Kent State signee Curtis Olvey.
Lakota East Brett Colburn is congratulated by Hayden Senger in a 5-2 win against Fairfield April 20, 2012. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
“Since Olvey has been out, we haven’t won,” Fairfield head coach Larry Price said. “Yeah, we do miss him. Take (Joey) Votto out of the Reds lineup and what do you have? That is about what he means to us.
“But, I don’t want to use that excuse. I think that it hurts, big time, but someone has to step up and fill in that gap.”
Olvey played a big role in the Indians’ start, which included 10 straight wins. During that span, Olvey struck out 32 batters in 21 innings and had a 0.67 earned run average. At the plate, he was hitting .389 and still leads the team with six doubles.
Meanwhile, the Thunderhawks have now won six straight and nine of their last 11 games.
“It is still a GMC game and they have dangerous players,” Hamilton said. “When you show up Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you better be ready to play well or you could be leaving with an ‘L.’
“We are finding ways to win and we did that again today.”
Offensively, the Thunderhawks put three runs on the board in the top of the third inning.
Senior Blake Wilder drove in the game’s first run when his line drive popped out of the glove of Fairfield third baseman Spencer Barrett, who leaped for the baseball. Lakota East junior designated hitter Brett Colburn scored on the play.
Later in the third, with the bases loaded and two outs, junior Adam Delaet hit what appeared to be a routine grounder that got by Fairfield second baseman Chris Rossi. Both, senior Alex Corna and Wilder scored on the error.
Another two-out error in the sixth inning, allowed Lakota East junior Ethan Bryant to score the fourth run for the Thunderhawks. Then in the seventh, Colburn drove in junior Tyler Schlensker on a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Indians, however, tried to battle back and scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. In that inning, senior Tyler Burdine and junior Casey McWhorter each drove in runs on doubles to left field.
Lakota East’s Alex Corna has been nominated for the LaRosa’s MVP of the Week award. Corna, who is a senior, currently leads the Greater Miami Conference in home runs with five and runs batted in with 21.
So far this spring, Corna has a .350 batting average and a .550 on-base percentage.
In 2011, Corna had a .381 batting average, a .532 on-base percentage and finished with two home runs and 23 runs batted in.
Prior to the season, Corna signed a letter of intent to play baseball next season at Ohio University.
The Mason Comets completed a four-game sweep against Lakota high school baseball teams with a 4-2 victory at Mason Middle School Monday.
Overall, the Mason batters struggled to make contact against Lakota East senior ace Michael Conrad, but got a big hit when it mattered.
In the bottom of the third inning, University of Cincinnati signee Conrad loaded the bases with a wild pitch on a strikeout, hit a batter and allowed another batter to reach on a fielder’s choice.
Then, with one out, Mason junior third baseman Drew Johnson got the Comets’ first hit of the game when he pulled a Conrad fastball down the third baseline for a 2-RBI single.
“Conrad was blowing some serious cheese. I just got a pitch in the zone and I was to get a soft grounder down the third baseline. It really got the team going and pumped up,” Johnson said. “Andrew McDonald then shut it down.”
After laboring through the first two innings, walking two and hitting two other batters, McDonald settled down, striking out seven batters and allowing two hits in six innings.
One of those hits was a solo home run by senior center fielder Alex Corna, which cleared the 345-foot marker in right-center field.
Mason shortstop Marcus Otte celebrates during a 6-2 win against Lakota East. Photo by Tony Tribble.
“It was an outstanding performance for him (McDonald). To do that against a ballclub like that, the defending state champions regardless of where they are now, is impressive,” Mason head coach Ken Gray said. “He just threw a heck of ballgame today.”
The Comets added a pair of insurance runs. One more in the third on an errant throw to the pitcher and another run on an error on a ground ball to the second baseman in the fourth.
Meanwhile, in a losing effort, Conrad also pitched well for the Thunderhawks, finishing the game by striking out 10 batters and allowing only two hits in five innings of work.
“When you strike out 10 and give up two hits that should be good enough for the win,” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said. “He was good enough last Monday, when gave up four hits and struck out 12. When do that, you should win. Right now, we are not.”
The defending state champs are not winning and also lost Conrad’s last outing by the score of 4-2 against Hamilton March 26. Overall, the Thunderhawks are 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the Greater Miami Conference.
“This is the GMC. I don’t care who you play for, you have to have good at-bats,” Hamilton said. “There is real good pitching in this league and that will never change. Mason is a really good team, so hopefully we can learn from this, get better from this and not make the same mistakes we made today.”
The Comets, on the other hand, behind a deep pitching staff are off to 6-2 start and improve to 4-0 in the GMC.
“It has been a blast so far. We have a great team and we think that we can make a run at the GMC and maybe advance further later on in the season,” Johnson said.
Mr. Redlegs high fives guests Monday, March 26, 2012, in the inaugural Reds Future High School Showcase at Prasco Park Legacy Field in Mason. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber of WestChesterBuzz.com.
After wining nine straight games to finish last season, which included the school’s first ever state team title, Lakota East lost by the score of 4-2 to Greater Miami Conference foe Hamilton in both schools’ season openers Monday during the inaugural Reds Future High School Showcase at Prasco Park Legacy Field in Mason.
The game went into the seventh inning, tied 2-2, when Hamilton’s starting pitcher Steven Moore crushed a triple in the right-field corner off junior relief pitcher Brett Colburn. The play drove in junior second baseman Jeffrey Benge with the go-ahead run. Moore would later score on a wild pitch.
The Thunderhawks lost despite a strong performance from senior pitcher Michael Conrad. The University of Cincinnati signee and 2011 Enquirer player of the year used an 87-mph fastball and a 71-mph curveball to fool the Big Blue lineup. Over six innings, Conrad totaled 12 strikeouts.
Conrad got a two-run cushion in the bottom of the first inning when his best friend and senior classmate Alex Corna (Ohio University signee) hammered a pitch an estimated 350 feet over the right-field fence against Moore.
Hamilton came back to tie the score in the bottom of the fourth when senior rightfielder Patrick McGuff and sophomore shortstop John Heckman came through with a pair of two-out RBI singles.
The bottom half of that inning, McGuff came in to pitch for Hamilton and shut down the Thunderhawks’ offense. In the last four innings of the ballgame, McGuff cruised through the next 10 batters before hitting junior pinch-hitter Tyler Schlensker in the bottom of the seventh.
The next batter, junior Chris Elam grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to preserve the win.
“Anytime you can get a win first time out of the box, it is a good win, and to beat a quality team like Lakota East, it is an even bigger win,” Hamilton head coach Joe Lewis said.
“It’s a big one for the club, hopefully the first of many this year.”
Hamilton 4, Lakota East 2
W-McGuff (1-0); Colburn (0-1), Conrad (12 K’s). Leaders L-Corna 2-R HR. H-McGuff RBI; Heckman RBI; Benge 2-3, 2B; Moore RBI 3B. Hamilton (1-0, 1-0 in the GMC), Lakota East (0-1, 0-1 in the GMC)
The Cincinnati Enquirer Division I Baseball Preview
Tom Groeschen reports
Lakota East coach Ray Hamilton is a classic old-school, hard-nosed baseball man who loves the game. Hamilton also got a bit choked up last year when reporters asked him about winning the Division I state title, the school’s first in a team sport. Having been a head coach for 23 years overall (including 11 years at Ross), Hamilton always will savor the memories of his first state title. Hamilton also knows he faces one of the toughest challenges in sports, trying to repeat as a champion.
“Our goals don’t change a lot,” Hamilton said. “We’re not playing for June. We just focus on the task at hand, and winning a GMC (Greater Miami Conference) championship is on top of the list.”
Lakota East won the GMC last year and finished 24-7 overall. The program lost 12 seniors but returns nine key players, and coaches again rate the Thunderhawks among the top area teams.
Senior pitcher Michael Conrad was named Enquirer Division I player of the year as a junior. The left-handed Conrad was 5-1 with a 1.11 ERA last year, with 115 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. Conrad has signed with the University of Cincinnati.
Senior outfielder Alex Corna, senior pitcher Blake Wilder and junior catcher Jarret Rindfleisch are among other top returnees for Lakota East.
The state champs will get plenty of competition from teams including Moeller, Mason, Milford, Elder and others, according to area coaches.
“On paper, Moeller is the team to beat,” Elder coach Mark Thompson said. (more…)
Lakota East baseball team wins school’s first state title
Mike Dyer reports
The Lakota East baseball team lost 12 starters from last season’s Division I state championship team, but Thunderhawks coach Ray Hamilton is confident there will be a strong squad this spring.
“We really don’t talk a lot about the year before,” said Hamilton, who begins his 13th season as Lakota East head coach with a 374-197 career record.
Lakota East was 24-7 last season and defeated Perrysburg 6-2 in the state final. It was the first state team title for Lakota East.
The Ohio baseball season begins officially March 24 for teams around the state.
Lakota East’s top returning player is senior pitcher Michael Conrad, who was The Enquirer player of the year last spring.
Conrad, who has signed with UC, was the Greater Miami Conference co-player of the year after he was 5-1 with a 1.11 ERA in 75 2/3 innings. Conrad, who is 6 feet 2 and 225 pounds, tied a Lakota District record for most strikeouts in a season (115).
“He continues to mature physically,” Hamilton said. “That’s been a four year process for us, now we have something where he is ready to go.”
Hamilton said UC’s interest in Conrad was a no-brainer. “Anytime you have a lefty at 90 (mph) it makes him attractable to a lot of people,” Hamilton said.
The Thunderhawks also return plenty of other talented players including outfielder Alex Corna (Ohio University signee), junior catcher Jarret Rindfleisch and third baseman/pitcher Blake Wilder. Corna hit .391 last season and was a first-team all-GMC selection.
Hamilton said if the Thunderhawks area able to generate offense, then he thinks the squad will be solid. Lakota East hit .306 as a team last season.
As a pitching staff, Lakota East had a team ERA of 2.19 last season.
“I think our pitching has a chance to be pretty good if those other guys can match what they did last year,” Hamilton said. “Defensively, we should be really solid.”
Lakota East opens the season with Kings and Talawanda during the first week. The Thunderhawks will travel to Chillicothe and Nashville for tournaments during the season.
Lakota West seniors Summer and Shabazz Reeves both signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday to play basketball at Morgan State University. The twins signed with the school during a special ceremony held after school on National Signing Day.
“The twins connected instantly with what an academic and athletic opportunity at Morgan State would offer and it was awesome that the MSU is giving the girls an opportunity to stay together through college,” Lakota West girls’ basketball coach Andy Fishman said.
The Reeves twins made verbal commitments to MSU in July of 2011 after considering the University of New Hampshire, the University of Richmond and St. Francis University. In addition, Shabazz also considered playing soccer at the University of Cincinnati, while Summer had considered playing basketball at American University.
Summer averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season, while Shabazz averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Baseball state champions can sign - The Lakota East Athletic Department announced that it would hold its signing day event in early February for all of its signees, but seniors Michael Conrad (University of Cincinnati) and Alex Corna (Ohio University) can officially sign with their colleges Wednesday. Conrad was The Enquirer Division I player of the year. Meanwhile, Moeller’s Bradley Macciochhi of West Chester is expected to sign to play baseball at Wright State University.
Lakota East tennis standout to sign with Xavier - Lakota East tennis standout Zach Mueck has committed to Xavier and will sign today, according to Lakota East coach Greg Mahlerwein. Mueck was the Division I state runner-up last spring. “I’m confident he will have an outstanding senior year here at Lakota East and that he will immediately be a valuable contributor to a talented Xavier tennis team next year,” Mahlerwein told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Lakota volleyball standouts – Two players from Lakota West, Corri Muha (Georgetown College) and Mel Stewart (Northern Kentucky University), and two from Lakota East, Hannah Berling (Tusculum College) and Hannah Sigala (Morehead State University), can officially sign letters of intent Wednesday.
Lakota East basketball seniors – The Lakota East girls’ program could have its best basketball season ever in thanks to seniors Alyssa Grevenkamp (University of Findlay), Tazzie Shaw (Marshall University) and Whitney Wyckoff (Yale University). All three can sign with their schools Wednesday. The Thunderhawks feature other players who are currently deciding between schools.