Thursday, September 23, 2021

Hawks eye third straight 20-win season

Hawken opens the 2018 season with a veteran lineup and lofty goals.

The Hawks return eight starters from the team that won the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division championship and finished as the Division III district runner-up.

Winning the league title and making a deep playoff run are among the goals the Hawks have set for themselves this spring. They also hope to win 20 games for the third straight season.

“We expect to be in contention for both CVC and district titles and we also hope to achieve a third consecutive 20 win season,” said Hawken coach Aaron Brandt. “We graduated our top pitcher from the last two seasons so we need to have someone take on the challenge of leading the rotation.”

The Hawks have plenty of quality arms in its pitching rotation.

Senior Jimmy Clark, a college baseball prospect, finished last year 5-4 with a 4.96 earned run average and 25 strikeouts. Senior Will Rowley, a Baldwin Wallace signee, was 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings of work. Senior Eli Ehrbar, an Ithaca College recruit, was 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 26 innings and junior John Byrne was 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA in 20 innings. Sophomore Aidan Hussain also will pitch. He finished the year 0-1 with a 4.42 ERA.

“We have a lot of depth in our pitching staff,” Brandt said. “We need to have some of the pitching staff step up while also having other players fill defensive positions when we bring in one of the normal starters to pitch.”

Hawken’s projected lineup includes five seniors.

Ehrbar will catch when he isn’t pitching. He batted .321 with 21 runs batted in last spring in being named honorable mention All-CVC.

Charles Winans, a second team all-league and all-district selection last spring who is considering several college options, will play second. He batted .427 with 20 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

“Charles Winans is the definition of a team player,” Brandt said. “He’s moving to his third different position defensively in the last three years. Charles works on his game all of the time. He really excelled last year at the plate, showing good combination of average, speed and power. He is a five-tool player.

Shortstop Danny Murphy returns after being injured during the 2017 season. He batted .386 with 10 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 2016.

“The Toledo recruit is a superb defensive shortstop who also batted leadoff in 2016,” Brandt said. “Returning him to the lineup will provide another consistent spark to an already solid lineup.”

Quinn Orloff will play left field while Clark is slotted in right.

Orloff, a Drew University recruit, batted .446 and earned first team All-CVC and honorable mention All-Ohio honors. Clark, a first team all-league and honorable mention All-Ohioan, hit .457 with 28 RBI.

“Jimmy Clark led the team in average and was tied for second in RBI in 2017,” Brandt said. “He plays a very strong right field defensively and will have the first opportunity to fill the No. 1 starter role for our pitching staff.”

Rowley will play center field. He batted .308 with 14 RBI last season.

Junior Nick Bislich and Hussain will split time at first base and Byrne will play third.

“We have a very experienced offensive lineup,” Brandt said. “We have great team speed and our aggressive approach at the plate has been a successful combination for this group of seven seniors. The team needs to stay focused on team goals and be ready for the challenge of stepping into Division II for the postseason tournament.”

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. 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.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

471FansLike
2,471FollowersFollow
364SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

CVC teams run into rankings

The Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches on Thursday released its state rankings, which included multiple teams from the Chagrin Valley Conference.

West Geauga’s Tara Gall makes her college choice

West Geauga senior Tara Gall on Wednesday announced her verbal commitment to continue her education and softball career at Tiffin University.

Geneva’s Ayden Richmond aces postseason test

Geneva's Ayden Richmond opened the postseason by wining the CVC tournament and earning the Valley Division's MVP award.

CVC teams earn state rankings

The fall sports season is near the midway point and several Chagrin Valley Conference teams have been recognized as some of the best in the state.

Perry Dynamic Duo commits to college programs

Perry’s dynamic duo of Jaelyn Tomoletz and Sammie DiBease committed to continue their education and volleyball careers in college.