Briley Harlan of Triad swings through a pitch during a recent game against Fairbanks. Harlan is a big part of the Cardinals’ ball club this year, as he also brings a major pitching boost to the rotation.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
Triad has seen success on the baseball diamond over the last several years.
The Cardinals were the Division IV state runner-up in 2016 and won the Ohio Heritage Conference North Division title with a perfect 11-0 conference record in 2017.
The Cardinals are looking to keep the success going this year, despite posting a 1-4 record early in the campaign.
“We are looking to defend our OHC title and have a good strong run in the tournament,” said coach Gary Davis prior to the start of the season.
In order to defend that crown, Davis will need to learn on his seniors.
The Cards are fielding a senior-heavy crew with Trevor Instine, Jacob Greve, Briley Harlan, Tommy Tosey and Cam Atchison.
Harlan was a first-team All-OHC player and earned All-Ohio honorable mention for his efforts in the field and atop the mound.
Instine joined him on the OHC’s first team, while Greve earned second team.
Davis said that his veterans are a definite strength and will be key to the team’s success as the season progresses.
“We have a number of returning players with experience and I’m look for leadership from them,” he said.
The Cardinals also have plenty of juniors, including Isaiah Bruce (honorable mention OHC), along with Austin Bails, Chris Tomlin, Dylan Warner and Cade Manly.
The youth on the team is in the form of sophomores, Jordan Simonelli, Logan McCoy, Jacob Jenkins and freshman Batai Lease.
Simonelli and McCoy are filling infield gaps, while Jenkins is a utility player .
Lease is providing another arm for the pitching rotation.
Davis said no matter where or who his kids are playing, they understand what they have to do.
“All of our players know and understand the goals at hand and will work extremely hard to reach those goals,” he said. “I’m looking for consistency, defensively and offensively, gritty Triad baseball and a ‘refuse to lose type’ of play.”
The Cardinals will need to keep that mentality as they try to rebound from their slow start.
Of the six teams in the OHC North Division – Triad, West Liberty, Mechanicsburg, Northeastern, West Jefferson and Fairbanks – Davis believes it is anybody’s ball game.
“The OHC North is a very challenging conference,” he said. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game every night.”
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