Cougars mastering the rawhide circuit in 2010Written by Scott Calhoun | | email@example.com
Sitting pretty at 11-0 and unbeaten (4-0) in the highly competitive Northern Lakes League, Southview is everything its current record and Division I Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association state poll ranking of seventh indicates.
Coach Ed Mouch’s Cougars are on the hunt; they believe they’re even better than the team that went 20-9 and won the NLL title a year ago.
“Last year we weren’t expected to win but this year everyone is throwing their No. 1 pitchers at us trying to take us down,” said senior pitcher Kirk Stambaugh. “I think this team is starting to believe whereas last year no one believed in us.”
Mouch amassed a 166-83 mark during his St John’s Jesuit tenure (1999-2007). In just his second year at Southview, he’s (31-9) has quickly transformed the Cougars from an NLL also-ran into the target.
“Coach Mouch does a really good job with us,” said senior second baseman Everett Barton (.467, 13 runs, 10 RBI). “He’s got a great staff.”
Fresh off devouring perennial area powerhouse Anthony Wayne 5-0 behind another stellar start from Stambaugh in a key early conference matchup, Southview has solidified its case as the area’s top hardball unit.
Stambaugh (5-0, 0.21 ERA, 43 K, 11 BB, 33 IP), junior transfer David Vandercook (0.44 ERA, 16 K, 16 IP) and junior Andy Joseph give the Cougars vital pitching depth that Mouch said will become crucial in the postseason.
“You’ve got to have at least three, but preferably four really good pitchers to make a (tournament) run,” Mouch said.
The staff has posted a 1.87 ERA and held opposing hitters to a collective .195 batting average.
So far, the Cougars’ bats have shrugged off opposing aces, hitting .349 as a team and outscoring opponents 105-26.
Four Cougar regulars are hitting .419 or higher and seven .325 or higher. Shortstop Mark Dubow is second on the team in RBI (15) despite batting in the seventh hole.
Senior catcher Dan Ampfor has quickly stepped up in his first varsity starting role, handling the hurlers while hitting .385 with a home run, six RBI and 10 runs scored.
“Dan behind the plate (first year) has done a really good job and that’s a big hole to fill,” Stambaugh said. “Mark’s been really good for us at short, too.”
“We definitely put in a lot of hard work during the offseason which I think puts us a step ahead of the competition,” Ampfor said. “Our senior leadership really helps. We have a bunch of guys with experience out here.”
Senior first baseman Cam O’Reilly is hitting.324 with a homer and 11 RBI.
Junior transfer Todd Vandercook (.432, 12 runs) in center, senior Nick Kopfman (.429, 14 runs, 11 RBI) in right and Ryan Spratt covering left have been an error-free outfield trio.
While forming a feared 1-2 punch on the hill, Stambaugh (.419, two HR, 16 RBI, 18 runs) leads off and Vandercook (.345, three HR, 11 RBI, .966 on-base percentage) is the clean-up slugger.
Mouch is far from satisfied with his team’s offensive progress, citing 1-9 inconsistency. He also wants to see the infield (16 errors) shore up its defense.
“As as scary it sounds, our hitting needs to improve. So far we’re not getting consistent production from everyone on a game-by-game basis,” Mouch said. “We need to be able to put it all together.”
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