Wins record, ORCC tournament title in MUH’s sights


The Miami University Hamilton baseball team is on the verge of history and yet another Ohio Regional Campus Conference tournament championship.

The Harriers have tied the single-season school record for wins and will be at Beaver Field in Lancaster on Friday and Saturday, hoping to complete an unbeaten run through the ORCC tournament.

“There is no ‘I’ on this team,” MUH coach Darrel Grissom said. “It’s all teammates. They have a chance to win 40 games because they’re a team.”

Miami Hamilton is 38-12. The Harriers have won 38 games twice before, in 2002 (38-13) and 2004 (38-12). Those squads won the regular-season and tournament titles — the current crew is perfect in the ORCC, but needs a tournament crown to stake its claim as the best team in school history.

“I think this is the best team depth-wise,” Grissom said. “I’ve got a couple guys that can step in and play at every position.”

MUH will face Wright State Lake in the winners’ bracket final Friday at 11 a.m. Ohio State Lima and and Ohio Lancaster are still alive in the losers’ bracket. The championship in the double-elimination event will be decided Saturday at 1 p.m. (and 3 p.m. if necessary).

Miami Hamilton has won 13 ORCC regular-season crowns in Grissom’s 14 years as head coach. The Harriers are going for the 13th tournament title in the Grissom era.

“What I expected this year was not the way it’s turned out,” Grissom said. “Some kids have really stepped up. Our starting lineup at the end of the season is totally different from where it started.”

Among the rising stars are third baseman Cody Liming of Cedarville and pitcher John Monnig of Springboro.

Liming was redshirted with an ankle injury last season, but now leads the squad with a .434 batting average. Monnig was an outfielder/pitcher throwing in the mid to low 80s in 2012 — now just a pitcher, he fired a no-hitter against OSU Lima last weekend.

“Liming is a Pete Rose-type worker,” Grissom said. “Monnig, now that we’ve taken him out of the outfield so his arm isn’t sore all the time, he’s hitting 91 miles an hour.”

Grissom said speed is a driving force with this team (MUH has 96 steals, led by Anthony Clark’s 25, Kendall Pleasant’s 14 and Heath Stricker’s 14). The power has shown with 21 home runs (Seth Martin has eight homers and 42 RBIs, and Mark Hildebrand has six homers and 51 RBIs).

“We’ve got more power than we’ve had in a long time,” Grissom said. “We’ve got a lot of upperclassmen, a lot of three- and four-year guys. That makes a big difference.”

Stricker, a Badin High School graduate, took over at shortstop and has been a quality leadoff hitter since Lakota West product T.J. Belieu suffered a knee injury about two weeks ago.

Kurtis Watkins (5-2, 5.03 ERA), Monnig (6-1, 3.89), Pete Winegardner (5-1, 2.42) and Chris Ticherich (4-2, 3.76) are the primary starting pitchers.

“We’re only losing four seniors (Martin, Hildebrand, Joe Jocketty and T.J. Seger),” Grissom said. “Our future is very bright.”

MUH is an independent program and has dominated the ORCC for so long that moving up to NAIA would seem to be a logical step. Yet there are no immediate plans to do so.

“I would love to find something more challenging, but it’s not up to me,” Grissom said. “Right now we play NCAA Division II teams, NAIA and junior colleges — we play everybody coming and going. We could bring a national championship to this town if we could be NAIA.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Dragons continue to have West Michigan’s number
Dragons continue to have West Michigan’s number

West Michigan may have the Midwest League’s best record, but you couldn’t blame the Whitecaps if a little doubt started to set in. Dayton pitchers Scott Moss and Tony Santillan would be the reason, because it’s likely they’ll face the Whitecaps in the first two games of the MWL playoffs, which begin at Fifth Third Field on Sept...
Ervin, Votto lead the way as Reds hold off Cubs
Ervin, Votto lead the way as Reds hold off Cubs

Phillip Ervin may be a late-bloomer, but the Cincinnati outfielder has arrived in the majors with bang. Ervin hit a two-run homer to snap a tie in the seventh inning and had four RBIs in his first major league start as the Reds rebounded from blowing a nine-run lead to defeat the Chicago Cubs 13-10 on Thursday. Ervin, in right field in his fifth game...
NBA champion Durant doesn’t ‘respect’ Donald Trump, won’t go to White House if invited
NBA champion Durant doesn’t ‘respect’ Donald Trump, won’t go to White House if invited

NBA champion Kevin Durant says he will not visit President Donald Trump at the White House if the Golden State Warriors are invited, according to a story on ESPN. "Nah, I won't do that," Durant, the 2017 NBA Finals MVP, told ESPN Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now." The White House has not officially extended...
High School Football: Graham next success story on coach’s list
High School Football: Graham next success story on coach’s list

In his football career, both playing and coaching, Shane Cahill has experienced success at every level. Cahill, 26, played on three regional finalist teams at West Jefferson High School. He was an all-conference linebacker at Urbana University, helping the Blue Knights to the most wins in program history in a four-year span (26). And the last three...
High school football games on radio, TV, internet
High school football games on radio, TV, internet

The following are area high school football games that will be aired on radio, TV and/or the internet. If your station or webcast isn’t listed, email your information and schedule to sports@coxohio.com. Thu. Aug. 24: Alter at Fairmont Thu. Aug. 31: Xenia at Troy Thu. Sept. 7: Bellbrook at Tecumseh Thu. Sept. 14: Lebanon at Beavercreek Thu. Sept...
More Stories