HAMILTON — Hamilton Joes manager Tyler Thamann doesn’t necessarily have three-peat on the mind heading into the 2023 season.
Just like his first two years in charge, Thamann watched everything fall into place during back-to-back Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League title runs.
“Every year, when everybody comes in, I don’t have a set starting lineup,” Thamann said. “The five days of practice we’ve got before the season starts really allows me to see what they can do and what they can bring to the table.
“The first two weeks, I’ll usually rotate through — get everybody some time. Obviously, some guys really didn’t get to play in the spring because a lot of the guys are redshirts. Some of the guys got to play a ton. Some of them need the rest before they can get into full-season mode. It’s a long season. I always tell them, ‘It’s a grind.’”
The grind starts on the road Tuesday night, when the Joes face the Xenia Scouts at 7:05 p.m. at Gradys Field.
“I’m just excited to see our guys go out there and perform,” said Thamann, who is assisted by pitching coach Tripp Storrs. “I try not to hold too high of expectations because I try to keep pressure away from them and just let them play the game.”
The Joes went 21-17 during the 2022 regular season and defeated the Lima Locos to capture their second straight league title a season ago. The Joes have four GLSCL championships (2010, 2016, 2021, 2022).
“I truly believe that it’s our guys, the talent that we recruit and the relationships we’ve built with schools around this area,” Thamann said. “We try to get their younger, top-notch guys so we can try and develop them. That’s what I tell them — ‘We’re here to develop you. Some of you are trying to be seen by scouts, and this is a huge opportunity for you.’”
Thamann said most of his players can pretty much play infield and outfield. So while the roster may be set, he added, positions throughout the lineup are not heading into Game 1.
“Every day after practice, I’ve been writing down a mock lineup with what I saw for that day,” Thamann said. “Just looking at it right now, we don’t have loads of power, again, like last year. We kind of have a lot more speed. So, we’re looking to get a lot of stolen bases. I try to throw good BP, so our guys can stay hot at the plate. We usually come out as one of the best hitting teams in the league. We hope to keep that trend going.”
The pitching staff consists of three Butler County natives in Liberty Township’s Jackson Campbell (South Carolina Upstate), Hamilton’s Eric Rawlings (Lincoln Trail) and Hamilton’s Maddox Pennington (Wabash Valley).
The rest of the pitching staff is Andrew Brock (undecided), Cooper Casteel (Cleveland State CC), Gavin Faulkner (Eastern Kentucky), Jack Feth Miami University Hamilton), Jacob Flaherty (Findlay), Tyler Galyean (Miami University), Dawson Hargrove (Southwest Tennessee CC), Warren Hartzell (Wright State), Tyler Hutson Southern Indiana), Zack Mallia (Radford), Shawn Parnell (Cincinnati), Jonathan Phipps (Lindsey Wilson), Cooper Robinson (Butler), Jared Teke (Northern Kentucky), Max Tramontana (Iowa) and Joey Valentine (Wright State).
“I’ve been talking to our pitching coach, and he says our pitching staff has been looking phenomenal this preseason,” Thamann said. “With the numbers that we saw for the spring, they look good on paper. That’s what I keep saying. I think with what we see on paper, we’re going to outperform that, and that’s what they’re doing in practice.”
Infielders on this year’s roster are Gabe Board (Lindsey Wilson), Cameron Bryant (College of the Holy Cross), Max Davenport (Miles), Christopher Hoffmann (Miami University Hamilton), Parker McDonald (Samford), Liam McFadden-Ackman (Northern Kentucky), Austin Neuweg (St Louis), AJ Swader (Cleveland State) and Liberty Township native Carter Rust (Charleston).
Hamilton native Curtus Moak (Lincoln Trail), Jake Paulick (Northern Kentucky) and Matthew Strand (Samford) will see time behind the plate.
Listed as outfielders on the Joes’ roster are Griff Cady (Winona State), Grant Miller (Ball State), Michael Sizemore (Lindsey Wilson), Stephen Stigler (Miami University Hamilton) and Giano Zuccaro (Charleston).
“I try to be as laid back as I can,” Thamann said. “I try not to be up their butts too much about everything, but obviously it’s all about what work you put in to get the outcome that you want.
“We’re very process-oriented, and we want to stay on them enough to make sure they get their work in. If the reps and everything are great, then we will get out of here and go home, come back the next day and do it all again.”
On the inactive list are Mason Dobie (Dayton), Dawson Hall (Minnesota), Jakob Hughes (University of Indianapolis), Kyle Music (Toledo), Blake Rowe (Southwest Tennessee CC) and Tyler Waugh (Alabama Birmingham). On the disabled list are Jason Kramlich (Porterville College), Bryce Turner (Southwest Tennessee CC) and Tyler Wolaver (Southwest Tennessee CC) and Middletown native Carter Earls (Cincinnati).
FILLING THE STANDS
Thamann said there’s a goal to fulfill off the diamond at Foundation Field during the upcoming season.
“We want to try and get more people to our games,” he said. “When we go to away games, certain stadiums get packed. They certainly get a little bit of that home-field advantage. The more people we can get at games, I think that will get the guys fired up and really wanting to play hard for a big crowd. Hopefully, we can get those numbers up and show people why they should come to the games to enjoy some good baseball.”
A beer booth is set up during each Hamilton Joes home game, along with a concession stand and grill, Thamann said.
“We do have a beer batter, which gives a dollar off beers from a strikeout by a Joes pitcher,” he said. “That guy carries over until the next time he comes up to bat. That’s when the fans really get rowdy because they want their dollar off. That’s something exciting the park itself brings.”
Tickets are $5 and are available at hamiltonjoes.com or at the gate.
The Joes’ first home game is against the Southern Ohio Copperheads at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday at Foundation Field.