Sandlot league prepares for sensational 2018

Sandlot league prepares for sensational 2018

Baseball is America’s pastime and a sport in which we all occasionally partake. Whether it be at family gatherings, kickbacks with the boys, competing for a school or club team, everyone enjoys a little bit of baseball once in a while. With that being said there is one league on the Westside of Cincinnati whose heart, grit and desire to win surpass all other, the Sandlot League.

It was the summer after our sophomore year when the juniors decided to make the first ever sandlot team, the SemperFi Marlins. Some members of this team were Connor Lohmiller, Michael Tucker, Michael Onorato, Adam Doeger, and Daniel Sizemore. This team was the first and they were looking for a little competition.

That’s when the Tri-state Grizzles became a team. Co-Founders Nick Dirr and Brady Sandmann selected an elite group of ball players to play against the Marlins. That entire summer many games were won and lost and most of those loses went to the Grizzlies. Actually, they might have only had one win the entire summer.

The next summer comes along and the Grizzlies are getting ready for the season but trouble strikes the Marlins. Their team disbands and the Grizzlies get two new players, Onorato and Tuck. Then other teams began to join the league.

We now have five teams including the Original Tri-State Grizzlies. There are the Cincy Snips, Cincy Apes, Cleves Catfish, and the Westside Wolverines. I was able to talk to the Grizzles Co-Founder Brady Sandmann about this sandlot league. He told me they play all around the west side, but their most frequent places are the Hollow, Sayler Park, Cheviot Field House, and Delhi (mostly just for practice, though).

“The best players in our league are basically anyone who played/plays Elder baseball,” said Brady. Brady told me his greatest moment in Sandlot league history was when the Grizzles and the Marlins joined forces to scrimmage an actual select baseball team. They played the Buckeyes and won. What an underdog story; just some scrappy sandlot team taking down the Buckeyes.

I also got to talk to senior pitcher Connor Johnson of the Grizzlies about his best moments of the season. “My favorite things about the league is just getting a nice farmers’ tan and hitting some dingers,” said Connor.

Connor told me, “I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an All- Star but yah I’m pretty much and All-Star. I step up to the plate and I guarantee a ding-dong.” Connor has been a part of the Grizzles since they originated but with an ACL tear, people are questioning if he will be back to the mound this summer. Playing or not I can guarantee this kid will be at the games.

The Westside Wolverines came in last summer. This team consists of juniors Scott Brown, Justin Haas, and Tim Findley. I can say that this team might be the doormat of the Sandlot league. They play like the Bad News Bears before they started winning. Definitely not a top contender in the league.

Also, there are the Cincy Apes who just like the Wolverines came in the league last summer. This is another junior team but with some actual talent. Ben Burke, Miles Bush, Luke Masminster, and Matt Larkin are just some of the many athletes on this team. Oh and don’t forget Ronnald “Box” Wainscott.

The Apes stacked their team with a fair amount of Elder baseball players which gives them a slight advantage. Don’t get me wrong. Yes, they are a good team but their talent can’t match the heart of teams like the Tri-State Grizzlies and the Cleves Catfish.

The Cleves Catfish are comprised of some of the less talented baseball players around Elder High School and the Westside in general. Led last season by captain Ben Farwick, the fish went 1-3 with their only win coming against the Westside Wolverines early in the season.

Cliffe usually gets a double, same with Mazza and Hamman, SK gets a single or two every once in a while but the real power hitters on this team are Braedy “Oxen” Murphy, Nick “all day” Folzenlogen and CJ “Big man” Bonavita. Make no mistake, Folz can hit the crap out of the ball.

This year the Catfish welcome most of their old squad back to the creek, but look to make some improvements to their fielding and middle of the batting line up. Jeff “Moto Moto” Tuttle and Tim “Rimbo” Rinear were part of the team last year but couldn’t show up to any of the games. The Catfish are confident in Rinear’s ability as a first baseman and Tuttle’s ability to tear the cover off the ball.

The class of ’17 compiled the best talent they could find along with some outsiders to field an impressive Cincy Snips team last year, however, we can’t be so sure that these guys are even going to play this year. What with college costing tens of thousands of dollars, these guys need every penny they can get their mits on. Who’s to say they aren’t down for some dongslaps though? David “DTrey” Dabbelt, and Ross Mullen were standouts for the team last year along with some guy nobody knew, he could smack the crap out of the ball, though. No disrespect towards him from anyone besides Folzenlogen. This team, if they play, could be dangerous, but if the freshmen 15 got to ‘em we may have to disregard their status as one of the better teams from last summer.

What happened to the Panthlanders, Cincy Caribou, Delhi Dogs, and the Cincinnati Marlins? Well the world may never know the truth but our guess is front office issues. Delhi Dogs star player Josh Powell told me that his team used to dominate the Panthlanders, Marlins and Caribou so they all stopped playing. “We used to beat those kids into the ground, Keller threw that heat and then we’d just basically play t-ball and run up the score.” The validity of this statement is in question but it’s the best we’ve got.

A new team on the block is the Cincy Nati’s, made up of some quality guys such as Corbin Scholtes, Nick Hilsinger, Jack Mazza, and Jack O’Brien. When asked about the Nati’s, Scholtes said “that sounds like a team I’d join.” The Nati’s are also trying to nab some free agents from other teams, looking for a ring.

The Sandlot League promises to be quite comical this season, as the talent or lack thereof is questionable, the desire to have a good time is not. For the class of 2018, this is like a last hoorah before they embark upon the journey that is their collegiate studies. We here at The Purple Quill would like to wish any competing member of the sandlot league good luck, a happy spring/summer and a successful season.