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    2024 Baseball Preview: Madison Blue Streaks

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    Madison enters its first season in the Chagrin Valley Conference with seven returning starters from a squad that finished 9-15 as an independent last spring.

    Head coach B.J. Titman is optimistic the Blue Streaks are on track to compete in the CVC Lake Division.

    “We were an extremely young team last year with most of our lineup being first-year starters,” Titman said. “They have worked extremely hard this offseason, especially in the cage, which we are really hoping leads to us being much more balanced as a team. We lost a ton of production with Will Henderlich graduating but we are really excited about the collective staff and lineup we have from top to bottom this year.”

    With seven of nine starters returning and nine letter winners on the roster, the Blue Streaks expect to be a better overall squad this spring.

    The Blue Streaks focused their offseason work on improving in the batter’s box and Titman hopes to see that hard work pay off.

    “My expectation for us is to be more well-rounded and complete as a team in all areas from last year,” he said. “I really trust our pitching staff to challenge hitters and expect success from the group, as a whole, to keep us in games. We made a very serious effort this offseason to improve offensively. We struggled to score runs last year, some due to our youth and physical maturity, some due to mechanics and technique. Hopefully, the tremendous work so many of them put in since last year showed up come game time. I am really excited for them to see that work pay off.”

    Madison’s projected starting lineup includes three seniors, three juniors, and three sophomores.

    The seniors include second baseman Brody Boncela, third baseman Seth Negin, and left fielder Nolan Thomas, an Otterbein commitment.

    Negin will be a four-year starter at third and Thomas will be one of the anchors of the pitching rotation.

    “Seth had one of the finest defensive seasons not just on our team, but in the area last year. I’m looking forward to him stepping into a leadership role for us this year,” Titman said. “I’m hoping to get Nolan plenty of innings on the mound this year in a versatile role for us. He’s going to move around a bit for us defensively and hoping for a strong offensive season from him as well.”

    Junior Ben Amos will play shortstop and serve as Madison’s No. 1 pitcher.

    “He should be a leader for us on and off the field,” Titman said. “I’m looking forward to him being one of the leaders of our pitching staff and offense.”

    The other juniors include right fielder Dom Lawrence and DH Alexander Davis.

    Rounding out the projected starting lineup are sophomores Eddy Gvora, who will catch, and Nathan Yarnell and Evan Smith, who will play first and center field, respectively.

    Amos, Davis, Negin, and Gvora are expected to start most games for the Blue Streaks with Thomas, Boncela, Smith, junior Landon Tomco, Yarnell, and senior Jack Harrison throwing innings in relief.

    “We are a pretty well-rounded group with a number of guys who can do multiple things for us,” Titman said. “We are much deeper than we have been in the past. I think our lineup day in and day out will be much more productive from one to nine. We did a great job of making the routine plays last year and I expect that to remain the same as we work through this season as well.”

    Titman understands what his team has to do to compete this spring and that starts with scoring more runs to take the pressure off Madison’s pitching staff.

    “Getting on base and executing while on the bases was something we really struggled with last year,” Titman said. “Our guys need to realize that offense is more than just your at-bat. You don’t score runs from first base and our guys need to realize to maximize our run output we need to execute on the basepaths as well.”

    Madison’s success hinges on each player understanding his role and putting the team first.

    “Coming together as a group and caring about the team more than anything,” Titman said of what his team must do to be successful. “We have some leadership roles that we really need a few of our guys to step into the right way if this group in particular is going to be as successful as they can be.”

     

     

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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