‘We’re not a finished product’ — Ross off to 12-0 start

OXFORD — It’s a conversation that’s been brought up before. Brad Voegele has the Ross High School baseball team focused on staying grounded.

Why? Because the Rams are winning — a lot.

“We talk about it,” the second-year Ross coach said. “We got PBR ranked the other day. We’re ranked 25th in the state, D-I through IV. We tell them, ‘Great. You’ve earned it. Right?’ Those are accolades, and I don’t want to take that stuff away from them.

“We have to make sure that we’re getting better. We’re not a finished product. Last thing I said to them was that I’m proud of them. We’re not a finished product.”

The Rams may not be a finished product, but they’ve already steamrolled their way to a 12-0 start on the heels of a stellar defense. Ross reeled off 14 straight wins to begin last season 14-1 and went 14-0 in 2019.

“Our guys just do what our guys do and just grind out,” Voegele said. “Just always consistent at-bats, and defensively again, I feel like we’re the best defensive team in the city.”

Ross has outscored its opponents 87-21 and held them to three runs or less in every game except an 8-6 win over St. Xavier on Thursday. In their four wins against SWBL foes, the Rams have only allowed two runs.

“It’s always baseball,” senior Nathan Bray said. “I think Sundays are our only day off. We’re always practicing — working on the little things. We don’t really mess up the little things. We always get them. That’s what we preach.”

Junior shortstop Ben Voegele is hitting a Southwestern Buckeye League second-best .522 (12 for 23), while senior second baseman Austin Parker (.333, 12 for 33) and junior left-fielder Brady McFarland (.476, 10 for 21) are also contributing at the plate.

“Timely hitting, and that’s kind of the last 12 games,” Brad Voegele said. “That’s what we’ve done. We have good at-bats, and those bats continue and when you get guys on base, two outs, it doesn’t matter for these guys. They just don’t have a filter like that. They just figure it out. It’s a different guy all the time.

“One through nine has really impacted the game. It’s a lot of fun. These kids are a lot of fun to be around.”

A total of nine pitchers have hit the mound for the Rams, with collecting wins. Senior Ian Busch and juniors Nolan Ertel, Collin Leal and Kerry Snyder each have two victories.

Beason, Tarin leading the way for Monroe

Monroe has lost four of its last five, but it’s been a sporadic schedule due to weather that’s prevented the Hornets (5-7) from getting into a groove.

“You have to have a rhythm,” Monroe coach Ed Beck said. “This game is about rhythm, getting your feet under you and feeling confident. Some guys are getting there.”

Senior AJ Beason (.371, 13 for 35) and sophomore Joe Tarin (.424, 14 for 33) pace Monroe on the offensive side of things.

“We’re working on things are we’re progressing with the season, especially offensively,” Tarin said. “I feel like we woke up these past couple of games. We’ve been getting a lot more hits and stringing it together with runners in scoring position.”

Beason is 2-1 on the hill, while junior Drew Heagen and senior Landen Wynn are both 1-0.

“I can’t tell you that we’re young,” Beck said. “We’re older. We can be good. We really can. Just sometimes we don’t do the baseball IQ things.”

Cougars ‘competing’ in every game this season

Edgewood (8-6) reeled off six straight wins to start its season. Now, the Cougars are focused on getting themselves back to that frame of mind having lost six of their last eight.

“The problem I’ve got right now is that we’re starting to make repeat mistakes,” Edgewood coach Ralph Lunsford said. “We’re making the same mistakes over and over. That’s got to stop. We’ve got to learn from them. We’ve got to get better. We’ll get there.”

Senior Brady Haas (.444, 16 for 36), sophomore Roman Smith (.371, 13 for 35) and freshman JJ Vogel (.367, 11 for 30) are Edgewood’s offensive leaders. Vogel is 3-1 on the mound with 28 strikeouts.

“Every game we’ve been in is one or two runs,” Lunsford said. “We’re competing. We have to do the little things. Right now our baseball IQ needs to get elevated.”

Brave sit atop SWOC standings

Talawanda (8-6) is on top of the Southwest Ohio Conference at 6-1 heading into the second half of the season.

With just 14 players on the roster, the Brave are still relishing in some impressive victories.

“It’s been kind of some ups and downs,” Talawanda coach Matthew Lykins said. “We’ve got some big wins — big come from behind wins.”

The Brave came from behind to knock off Elder 11-10 with a five-run seventh to set the tone with their first win. Talawanda has reeled four straight consecutive wins in two different occasions this season.

“We’ve won the games we should have won,” Lykins said. “But on occasion, we have some mental lapses. … A lot of it is due to not having a lot of depth on this team with 14 guys. We’ve got guys playing in different positions and stuff like that.

“I’m proud as heck of them — all of the kids. They come to play. They bring their effort. But when you’re going out there and you’re moving your guy to right field and right field to second and then your second has to come in cold to pitch, that’s not a situation you like to be in as a baseball coach.”

Juniors Nathaniel Iden (.436, 17 for 39), Eddie Tanner (.425, 17 for 40) and Ryan Wright (.410, 16 for 36) lead the way offensively. Senior AJ Hainline is 3-0 on the mound with 23 strikeout

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