This story originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of ESPNHS Ohio.
By now you’ve probably seen our preseason POWERADE FAB 50 and wondered to yourself, “Where’s Moeller?” This year marked the first time the Crusaders failed to crack the top 50 rankings since the 2009 poll was released.
“With who we graduated last year, we’re not as high as usual, and that’s fair,” says Moeller skipper Tim Held. “But this team isn’t a year away. I think we’re ready now.”
While Division I favorite Vandalia-Butler and preseason No. 42 Lakota East feature veteran lineups and clear-cut aces, Moeller’s optimism stems from its emerging young stars Cameron Whitehead and Zach Shannon. Whitehead, a junior C/1B, has the potential to be an All-State-caliber player this spring, while Shannon, a sophomore 1B/RHP, is ready to make a splash with the five-time state champs after starring on the freshman squad last spring.
Graduation may have gutted this squad, but it could be the proverbial team no one wants to see come playoff time.
“All the pieces are there,” says Held. “It’s going to be a good product.”
Senior Ty Amann is the old head on the roster and will complement the youth movement with the experience he gained during the team’s 2009 championship run. He hit a shade over .400 last spring and was 15-of-15 on stolen bases.
The Crusaders don’t feature a hard-throwing hurler but go five deep in a rotation anchored by seniors Brian Burkhart and Phillip Diehl and southpaw John Tanner.
“We might not have a clear No. 1 guy, but I have five guys I can roll out any day, in any inning,” Held says.
As is often the case with a young, unproven roster, there are likely to be some growing pains early in the season. But with the program’s rich pedigree combined with its blossoming stars, don’t expect the Crusaders to be absent from the national spotlight for long.