After 27 years of coaching the Whiteoak Wildcats baseball team Head Coach Chris Veidt will lead the 2018 team into Huntington Park on Thursday to take on the Hicksville Aces in the Division IV State Semifinal.
Whiteoak has been spectacular all season and enter the semifinals sporting a 28-2 record and holding the number one spot in the final Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association poll. Hicksville comes in with a 20-5 record and holding the number nine spot in the OHSBCA poll.
Mason Lehr leads the Wildcats offensively with a .430 batting average, .658 slugging percentage and a .566 on base percentage. Lehr is not the only weapon Whiteoak has on the roster as Treaten Hamilton, Evan Brill, Caleb West, Chase Carraher and Ryan Robers are all batting over .300 on the season.
As a team the Wildcats enter the State semifinals with a .335 batting average, are slugging .461 and have an on base percentage of .475. Whiteoak has scored 294 runs on the season on 260 hits and 230 RBI. The Wildcats are a terror on the base paths with 210 stolen bases on the year including a school record 42 stolen bases for Hamilton.
Hicksville is led by Jake Greer who has a batting average of .507 on the season with nine doubles and a home run. The Aces will also rely on Parker Theil who enters the State semifinals with a .436 average. As a team Hicksville is batting .313 on the year and have scored 192 runs.
Defensively the Wildcats have had an excellent season and committed only 48 errors on 836 chances. Billy Oliver has been good for the Wildcats behind the plate allowing only 14 passed balls on the season.
On the mound Whiteoak has been led by Evan Brill, with a 9-0 record on the season and a .064 ERA, and Chase Butler, 8-0 and 2.41 ERA. Brill leads the team with 62 strikeouts on the year and has issued only 17 walks while giving up 30 hits on the season. Trever Yeager is the top reliever for Whiteoak with six saves on the season as he has allowed only three runs in eight appearances with 11 strikeouts.
Greer and Theil lead the Aces on the mound with 1.38 and 1.83 earned run averages respectively. Greer leads Hicksville with 75 strikeouts and Theil has 55 strikeouts on the year.
Coach Veidt talked about his team’s journey through the tournament to the Final Four and how his team has to continue to trust the process.
“We didn’t come this far to come this far. We talked about the ladder and the process and the steps up the ladder. We numbered them from Peebles on to now and it is sure a lot nicer looking up and seeing two more steps than looking up at the beginning and seeing seven. It’s there, the carrot is dangling. We just got to trust the process, have each other’s back, flush the negative, embrace the positive and just keep doing what we are doing,” said Veidt.
The winner of the game between the Wildcats and Aces will advance to the State Final on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Huntington Park in Columbus to take on the winner of the semifinal between Trinity and Fort Loramie.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.