CLAYTON – The 2018 Northmont Baseball Hall of Fame honor goes to the entire 1988 team.
The annual Northmont Baseball Hall of Fame banquet will be held Sunday, March 18 at 6 p.m. at Northmont High School.
The 1988 Team consisted of the following players: Curt Conley, Rob Topmiller, John Downs, Dave Gilbert, Fred Zink, Mike Sherman, Dave Burrows, Scott Peeler, Mark Miller, Sheldon Ladd, Grant Lewis, Greg Smith, Shane Sullins, Mike Ross, Doug Morris, Jon Thompson, Tim Best; Coaches: Chuck Harlow, Mike Heinke, Mike Jewsikow, Rick Stoeckman (deceased) and Kevin Hinton (deceased).
This team finished at Greater Miami Valley Conference champs with an overall 25-8 record (11-3 within GMVC), District Champions, 2nd in MVBCA, 7th in State Poll. GMVC honors included 1st Team: Mark Miller, 2nd Team: Dave Burrows, Jon Thompson, Fred Zink and Curt Conley and Honorable Mention: Grant Lewis and Dave Gilbert. Also Mark Miller was 1st Team for MVBCA All-Star Game and Jon Thompson and Mark Miller took All Ohio honors.
Team statistics include 925 at bats, 304 runs, 321 hits, 276 RBIs, 223 singles, 57 doubles, 9 triples, 22 homeruns, 172 strikeouts, 188 bases on balls, 21 hit by pitch, 32 sacrifices, 672 put-outs, 202 assist, 12 double plays, 37 out of 45 stolen bases attempted for a .822 percentage.
Members of this team remain as top ten record holders for Northmont Varsity Baseball. Mark Miller, Jon Thompson, Dave Gilbert are part of the .400 Club, Mark Miller and John Downs are in the 7 Win Club, Mark Miller in most wins, Dave Gilbert and Curt Conley with 0.49 and 0.77 earned run average, Mark Miller with 8 home runs, Mark Miller, Mike Sherman and Jon Thompson for runs batted in, Mark Miller and Mike Sherman for base on balls, Grant Lewis for hit by pitches, Mark Miller for runs scored, Mike Sherman for two-base hits, John Downs for three-base hits, and Mark Miller and Jon Thompson for runs produced.
This 1988 Team truly was a one-of-a kind team with great comradery among the players. Many of the memories shared were about teammate’s achievements and you can truly feel the pride they have for each other. They never gave up as evidenced in their many come from behind wins. They made the game fun, from their early morning workouts to getting the field ready for play. They were proud to wear the “green and white” and representing their school and enjoyed being asked by opposing teams “how do you guys get this many fans to show up to your games?” The answer was simple, baseball was a big deal at Northmont High School and this team made it fun for both the players as well as the fans. Least of all, but most important, they wanted to WIN! Their coaches instilled that in them and they are proof that by hard work, it is possible.
The 1988 season started with Conley throwing a no-hitter in the season opener against West Milton, with 18 strikeouts. Coach Harlow gave all the credit to Conley and his catcher, Fred Zink, who called a heck of a game. Along with the offensive attack led by Greg Smith who had 3 RBIs and went 4 for 4 for the day and Mike Sherman who was 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs, this was a great start for this memorial season. Game 2 against Stebbins was one of several come from behind wins, with Grant Lewis going 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs and Scott Peeler 1-4 with 2 RBIs. Shane Sullins got the win, while striking out 12. The team went on to a 7-1 record with double header wins with excellent pitching by Sherman, Sullins and Mike Ross combining for 3 hits and 9 strikeouts and Sherman also going 2-3 with 4 RBIs in game one against CJ and Miller and Smith pitching for 5 hits and 10 strikeouts against Circleville, where Grant Lewis was 2 for 3 and Rob Topmiller going 3 for 3 with Jon Thompson hitting a two-run homerun. A victory over rival Vandalia-Butler increased their record to 17-5 (8-2 in conference play) with Sullins striking out 7 and Thompson going 2-4 with a home run and Grant Lewis 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs. The season progressed with a win over Piqua to maintain a share in the GMVC title with Jon Thompson going 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs, Dave Burrows going 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs and Curt Conley 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs.
Going into the season Coach Harlow felt confident with his team. He thought they were solid. They were fast. They had good defense and strong pitching. The players also wanted to win the GMVC and do well in tournament. In their first game of tournament against Bellefontaine, they were down by 9 runs, yet they were able to make a comeback. Great defense and exceptional hitting led the Bolts to a 13-10 victory, including a grand slam by Miller. The team went on to defeat Springfield North and Wayne to advance to the District finals, where again, they faced their longtime rivals – the Vandalia Butler Aviators. Gilbert nailed a 3 run home run to put the Bolts into the lead in the 3rd inning and exceptional pitching by Sullins and Downs added to the victory. The Bolts lost in the Regional semifinal that year to Fairfield 6-3.
The Bolts recognized their fans called “The Rowdies” as a big part in their success. Opponents playing at “The Yard” had a tough time because of the fans. The Bolts managers Amy Willis, Missy Chester and Eva Hubler along with trainer Carla Lett also were a big part of their success.
Front row: Eva Hubler, Missy Chester, Greg Smith, Tim Best, Mark Miller, Grant Lewis, Rob Topmiller, Carla Lett and Amy Willis. Back row: Coach Rick Stoeckman, Mike Sherman, Dave Gilbert, Jon Thompson, Scott Peeler, Dave Burrows, Sheldon Ladd, Fred Zink, Shane Sullins, Curt Conley, John Downs and Coach Chuck Harlow.