BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee baseball coach Brian Nagy has just one letter winner returning – senior Caleb Loboschefski.
Loboschefski, who will pitch, catch and play shortstop, is joined by three other seniors, including two who will double as pitchers and first basemen – Brayden Meeks and Dylan Hamilton.
The fourth senior is Logan Phillips, who will play third base and outfield.
The numbers strength of Nagy’s squad is in his junior class, however, where he has nine players expected to be key contributors.
They include Drew Durliat (P/3B), Zack Harris (OF), Ethan Kujawa (1B), Jayden Michalak (OF), Brenden Myerholtz (IF/OF), Ryler Oakman (3B/OF), Dylan Riley (IF/OF), Eli Seiler (SS/OF) and Angelo Shepler (IF/OF).
Two sophomores, Sam Archambeau (C/OF) and Landen Patterson (C/3B), can be added to the mix.
Nagy projects Loboschef-ski, Seiler, Phillips, Riley and Meeks to be his top hitters.
“They have all had good preseasons in the cage and in our intra-squad scrimmages,” Nagy said.
The Panthers’ pitching rotation will also be headed up by Loboschefski.
“Caleb Loboschefski has the most experience, along with Dylan Hamilton, who logged some innings at the varsity level as a sophomore,” Nagy said.
“Eli Seiler, Brayden Meeks and Jayden Michalak are all also expected to be called upon.”
In the field, expect different players at different positions depending on the situation.
“Angelo Shepler, Dylan Riley and Brenden Myerholtz will all see action in the outfield, with Logan Phillips and Ryler Oakman battling for time at third base,” Nagy said.
“Shortstop will be manned by Eli Seiler and Caleb Loboschefski. Second base is a wide-open battle as is first base with Brayden Meeks, Drew Durliat and Ethan Kujawa all competing for time.
“Catching for the Panthers pitching staff will be handled by Loboschefski, Sam Archambeau and Landan Patterson.”
Nagy says he is still waiting to see who his most improved players will be, especially since last year’s season was canceled.
He says that every member of the team, except Loboschefski, is a first-year player, explaining, “Basically, our entire roster is (potentially) ‘sleepers’ ready to get noticed.”
After scrimmages scheduled with Whitmer, Wauseon, Clay and St. John’s, Nagy was to find out more about where his team is when they hosted Eastwood on Monday.
“I believe our team can be competitive on a day-in, day-out basis,” Nagy said. “As far as where we will finish in our league, our goal is to play meaningful games in May.
“Our team’s strength this year is a common bond of ‘learning on the job’ as we are all young together. Our excellent feeder programs at the Little League level will help give us a chance to be competitive while we get our feet under us.
“The weakness of our team is our inexperience. With only one returning letter winner, we will have to learn quickly and adapt to the speed of the game at the varsity level.”
Nagy says to expect any team to rise to the challenge in the Northern Lakes League.
“I would vote for Perrysburg, Anthony Wayne and Sylvania Southview to be early favorites to win the league,” Nagy said, “but I do think that on any given night any team could rise up and beat anyone else.”
Nagy served for 27 years as head coach at Evergreen, where his teams went 332-330. He also coached three years at Stryker. He likes what he sees at Maumee.
“I have been very impressed with the work ethic and character that our players have exhibited so far this season,” he said.
“Having the continuity of keeping Coach (Todd) Ery and Coach (Buzz) Rothenbuhler in the program has made a huge impact and the addition of Coach (Damian) Helm at the freshman level has added some energy and excitement.”
After games with Eastwood and Whitmer on Monday and Tuesday, on Thursday, April 1, the Panthers travel to the Oregon Recreation Complex to take on Clay at John Ousky Field at 5:00 p.m.
Next Tuesday, April 6, Maumee travels to Millbury to face Lake in a non-league contest at 5:00 p.m.