Thursday, September 23, 2021

New coach, throwback culture at Cardinal

Seth Klepper was a member of Cardinal’s 1996 team that finished as the Division III state runner-up and now in his first year as the head coach of the Huskies he’s hoping to restore that winning tradition to the program.

To do that, Klepper filled his coach staff with other former players who played for Rich Driscoll, who compiled a 153-33 record during his tenure in the 1990s.

“I was part of a solid winning tradition here,” Klepper said. “My entire staff played at Cardinal. Greg Bean is coaching the JV and Todd Barcikowski and Bill Poole also played here. We’re trying to bring back the old ways. Coach Rich Driscoll put us on a winning streak and I want to get back to it.”

While Klepper is in his first year as head coach, he isn’t new to the program or its players.

He coached many of these kids through travel ball when they were younger and his son is one of seven returning starters.

“I know the potential they have here,” Klepper said. “I’m looking forward to having a good season and being competitive in every game we play. We have a lot of talent and it’s mostly upperclassmen with a couple of sophomores and freshmen who have stepped up to the plate and done well in the preseason.”

Among the projected starters are three seniors including second baseman Parker Kosh, shortstop Cameron Klepper and left fielder Eric Proch. Kosh, who also will pitch, moved from short to second and Klepper moved from third to short.

Junior Jacob Gotham returns behind the plate, junior Matt Carney will play third and juniors Brice Hogue and Brian Westover round out the outfield. Hogue will patrol center field while Westover will play right.

Coach Klepper hasn’t settled on a first baseman yet but sophomore Robby Granny and junior Jonathan Heredos will compete for the starting spot.

Kosh, Carney, Hogue and Heredos will throw most of the innings this season for the Huskies.

“They’re all upperclassmen, so we’re really concentrating on them throwing first-pitch strikes and after that our defense will help,” Coach Klepper said. “They really need to limit the walks. That has really hurt us in the past by getting those runners on. I’m pretty confident they’ll do it this year and stay positive.”

Offensively, the Huskies should consistently put the bat on the ball and put runners on the base paths and Klepper isn’t going to be afraid to put those runners in motion.

“We have a lot of guys that can hit for average,” Klepper said. “Granny and Jacob Gotham are our two power guys we’ll rely on to move runners around but if we can get on base, we’re going to run. We have a lot of speed on the team and we’re going to steal bases left and right.”

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.

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