CLAYTON — With a lineup consisting of mostly inexperienced players at the varsity level, the Northmont baseball team can expect some growing pains as the season unfolds.
Despite having only three returning players with significant varsity experience, first year head coach Ross Kincaid is optimistic about the 2019 season.
“It’s kind of a new adventure for all of us,” Kincaid said. “We are kind of in the same boat this year. We’ve all been around, but we haven’t been ‘here’ at the varsity level, but it will be exciting.”
Kincaid, a 1997 Northmont grad, has 18 years of experience coaching baseball at Northmont. He spent the previous two seasons as head coach of the JV team. He served as varsity assistant coach from 2014 to 2016, was the freshmen head coach from 2005 to 2013 and JV assistant coach in 2003 and 2004.
Returning players with varsity experience this year are three seniors: Justin Combs (catcher), Jason Kohr (pitcher) and Will Miller (outfielder/catcher). Combs served as the starting catcher for most of the 2018 season before suffering an injury when Miller stepped in to handle the backstop duties. Kincaid said that trio will be looked to for much needed leadership on a team with many talented and spirited players.
“We have a lot of guys that don’t have any varsity experience. Most of them were JV players last year,” Kincaid said. “Only a couple of guys had significant at-bats or innings pitched last year, but they are good kids and I think they are all pretty hungry for a new opportunity.”
Despite the lack of varsity experience, the 2019 team has embraced this year’s program theme of “moving forward” by working hard each day during the first five weeks of practice. In addition to the three returning seniors, three more seniors should help to bolster the Bolts lineup. They are Edward Hardaway (outfielder), Dalton McClaskey (pitcher/infielder) and Reagan Schommer (pitcher/infielder).
“We have lots of arms pitching wise,” Kincaid noted. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of athletic kids. We are definitely going to have growing pains. I am under no illusion that we are not going to have growing pains, but this is an exciting group. They are spirited and they want to do well so I am excited for them.”
The Thunderbolts will rely on a talented group of juniors consisting of Eric Corbett (outfielder), Jacob Cox (infielder/pitcher), Jakob Hughes (pitcher), Keaton Kesling (outfielder/infielder), Noah McGilton (infielder/pitcher), Nick Newman infielder/outfielder/pitcher) , Vince Sarno (catcher), Tyler Schock (infielder), Brenden Siehl (infielder/pitcher), Jaren Slusher (pitcher/outfielder), and Andrew White (infielder/pitcher) to compete with the top teams in Division 1 baseball in the Dayton area.
Northmont will open its regular season on Monday, March 25 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida against Sylvania Northview. The Bolts will play four more games throughout the week down south before returning home from its annual Spring Break ‘business trip.’
Once back in the Buckeye State, the Bolts will host a GWOC cross-divisional game against Beavercreek on Friday, April 5 before a showdown with its rival from across the dam, Butler, on Saturday, April 6 at high noon in ‘The Yard.’ Throughout the balance of April and early May, Northmont will battle GWOC divisional foes Lebanon, Springboro, and Miamisburg twice each in addition to its other GWOC cross-divisional opponents Springfield, Centerville, Fairmont, and Wayne.
Northmont supporters are sure to enjoy a few special days at ‘The Yard’ including a ‘Green Out’ for the varsity game against Butler on April 6, ‘Teacher Appreciation Night’ vs. Lebanon on April 16, the ‘Hall of Fame Game’ against Greenville on April 27, and ‘Senior Night on Friday, May 3.
The Thunderbolts would also like to invite all varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen team fans to support Northmont F.I.S.H. by bringing canned or non-perishables goods the week of April 13-20 to stock the community food pantry.
In addition to the varsity team, the junior varsity and freshmen baseball teams are poised to provide a great deal of excitement during the 2019 campaign, according to Kincaid.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind