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Oak Harbor looks to defense SBC crown

Head Coach: Rob Schimmoeller, ninth year

Last Year: 18-8 (12-2 SBC)

Batting Order: SS Mark Konieczy; 2B Andy Rathbun; P A.J. Cecil; LF Logan Winke; 1B Nate Segaard; CF Justin Warnke; 3B Ben Genzman; RF Jourdan Maguire; C Mike Osbourne

Outlook: The last two years have been pretty special for Oak Harbor.

Last season, the Rockets won their first Sandusky Bay Conference title in 20 years and the year before that they went on an incredible run that saw win five tournament games to advance to the Division II Regional Final.

Unfortunately, most of the key players from last year's squad are gone, meaning Oak Harbor has lost the vast majority of its production. Having to replace the likes of Brian and Joey Mallernee, Phil Bryant, Cory Grotz and Payson Galway will be no easy task, but the Rockets don't have a choice. It should be noted that senior Kaleb Maguire, who would've played a key role on this year's team, will miss the season because of a torn Achilles' tendon injury he suffered during football season.

Fortunately, Oak Harbor has two of the area's best players, Mark Konieczny and A.J. Cecil, back for one final run.

Konieczny, who plays shortstop and pitches occasionally, hit .489 with a remarkable .718 on-base percentage while serving as the catalyst for the offense last season. Cecil, who plays center field when he's not pitching, hit .435 (.590 OBP) and went 6-3 on the mound with a 1.41 ERA. Senior Nate Segaard is expected to help as well, having hit .455 in the first four games to go with five stolen bases.

“Fortunately, A.J. and Mark are back to set the table,” manager Rob Schimmoeller said, “so the middle of our lineup should have plenty of RBI opportunities. However, with only two returning starters, we may have to play small ball with the bottom part of our order.”

Thus far, the Rockets have raced out to a 7-1 start behind a combination of good pitching and hitting. Cecil (3-0, 0.45 ERA), Segaard (2-0, 0.78 ERA) and Konieczny (0-1, 0.81 ERA) have all pitched very well this season.

Those three are also also part of the five players who are currently hitting at least .400 thru the first eight games. Cecil (.625 BA, 3 2B), Andy Rathbun (.500 BA, 2 2B), Logan Winke (.452 BA, 4 2B), Konieczny (.433 BA, 4 2B) and Segaard (.400 BA, 9 RBI) have all been instrumental in leading Oak Harbor to their fine start.

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