ARCHIVE PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Seniors Jack Steiner, left, and Justin Basinger are among Bulldogs players to watch for this season.
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
Dalton High School’s varsity baseball team is filled with young players who are looking to jump out to a strong start in the 2023 season to build momentum for a long postseason run.
The Dawgs bowed out of the tournament in the district semifinal game last season.
“Our short-term goals are to get off to a good start against some really good competition and gain some confidence,” said Scott Huth, who is entering his ninth season as Dalton’s head coach. “We are a younger team and we need to experience some success early in the season to build confidence.
“Our long-term goal is to always be playing our best baseball by the end of the season in hopes of having a chance for a conference championship and a big tournament run.”
After losing seven seniors from last season, the Dawgs are turning to seniors Justin Basinger, Jack Steiner and Bryce Johnson to bring leadership to the team. Huth gave his confidence that the seniors will set a good example for the younger players, while also having a calming factor to the team.
The Dawgs’ pitching was a highlight of the 2022 season and Huth is expecting his team to excel on the mound again this year.
“We lost a lot of seniors from last season’s team, so we are going to be very young this year,” Huth said. “However, we hope that Justin Basinger will continue to be one of the better pitchers in our conference and build off of last year’s season. We also believe we have another very good pitcher in Seth Wyckoff. He pitched very well for us last season and we hope he continues to grow and improve as the season goes along. Really, overall, our pitching has been pretty solid the last couple years and besides those two, we have several more younger guys that we are very excited about and hope we can continue to pitch well and be in every ball game.”
Dalton experienced some struggles on offense in 2022, which is something Huth wants to improve this season.
“We have always taught our guys to be aggressive at the plate and last year, we lost a little bit of that edge at times,” Huth said. “I would like to see us be more aggressive and have a better plan for each at-bat. I think we have the potential to be a very good offensive team if we have a little better approach at the plate and stop taking so many pitches.”
So far in preseason practice, Huth has observed his pitchers displaying good control and command of their pitches and they have been throwing strikes. The hitters have been hitting the ball well during their reps in the cages. Huth added his players’ attitude and work ethic have been positive so far and he is hoping the gains of the spring will carry over into the season.
Huth said his team is looking forward to facing WCAL teams, both to measure their strength against powerhouses and to continue conference rivalries.
“Waynedale was the Division III state champion last year,” Huth said. “We play them early in the year, so that will be a great test for us to see how we measure up. Hillsdale was in the Division IV Regionals last year, so we also look forward to seeing how we play against them as well. We have developed some pretty fun rivalries with a lot of the teams in our conference, so we look forward to competing with all of them.”
Huth detailed some of his players who are set to be exciting to watch this season.
“Jack Steiner is one senior who is our shortstop and has the potential to be an All-Ohio player,” Huth said. “He was first team WCAL last year. I already mentioned our two pitchers that we are going to rely on heavily. We also think Will Carmichael and Talan Greegor have the potential to be pretty good hitters for us the next two years. We are very excited about the potential of all of our guys. We just have to hope that we gain that confidence quickly and that we can get off to a quick start.”
Dalton’s season-opening doubleheader at Tuslaw March 25 was rained out.