Welcome back Hoover baseball fans!  Thanks to so many of you for the invaluable information I have been able to gather to date related to North Canton/Hoover baseball.  I hope to eventually fill in as much as possible from 1945 to the present.  I already have over 100 former players on my newsletter distribution list.  Please feel free to send me any contact information you have on your former teammates.  I have been as impressed about the lives and careers that former players have carved out after their playing days as I have with their accomplishments on the field.

Alumni Spotlight – Paul Bricker, age 90, who is a 1945 NoCaHi graduate and currently resides in Norwich, Ohio.  Paul is an Army veteran, 1951 graduate of Muskingum College and former athletic director and guidance counselor at Zanesville High School.  I discovered three generations of Viking baseball players in the Seemann family – Dick (1948), his son Greg (1976) and grandson Jarid (2016).  R.J. Vukovich (2008) operates a local company, VukGripz, specializing in such items as batting gloves and bat grips.  His company was awarded Best of Show at the 2017 ABCA Convention in Anaheim, California.

2017 Fun Facts – The Vikings were 14-0 if they scored first, 8-0 if they scored in the first inning, 14-1 if leading after six innings, 18-2 if they outhit the opponent, 1-8 if trailing after six innings and they did not play in any extra innings games during the 2017 season.  Seniors Jordan Hite and Eli Blackledge will start the 2018 season with reached base streaks of 16 and nine respectively.

College Commitments – Congratulations to Hoover’s junior pitcher Brody Ware on his education and baseball commitment to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The Flames participate in the Big South Conference.  Other area committed players include:  Class of 2018 – Zach Dezenzo, Marlington (Ohio State), Ryan Bergert, GlenOak (West Virginia); Class of 2019 – Jonathan Machamer, Massillon (South Carolina), Yianni Skeriotis, Jackson (Ohio State), Kasey Centeno, Perry (Cincinnati); Class of 2020 – Aidan Longwell, Massillon (Kent State).

Youth Is Served – Sam Bucher and Brody Ware continued a recent trend of several Hoover sophomores bursting onto the varsity scene with contributions on the mound during the 2017 season.  Bucher was 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA (35 IP, seven starts, and one complete game) and Ware was 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA (37 IP, six starts, and four complete games).  Nick Binnie was impressive during the 2015 season with a 3-0 record and 0.97 ERA (24 strikeouts in 21.2 innings).  The 2014 season marked the pitching debut of Tyler Drabick, who started three games for Vikings that season, recording a 1-0 record with 12.2 innings pitched.  Jake Szendrey was a key performer for Hoover during their district championship run in 2013.  Jake was 5-2 with two saves and a 1.71 ERA.  He recorded 58 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched.  Alex Binnie made pitching appearances in nine games in 2012.  The recent trend of sophomore pitching started with Drew Vargo in the 2011 season.  Drew was 3-0 that spring posting wins in all three starts he made.

Hoover Baseball Booster Club Membership – HBBC is encouraging membership as a Hoover baseball supporter during the upcoming 2018 season.  Levels of participation are $25 (Family), $100 (Diamond Club), $250 (Home Run Hitter) and $500 (Gold Member) which includes VIP parking, free concessions and special VIP seating for varsity and JV games.  Mailing address is P.O. Box 2364, North Canton, OH 44720.

Work In Progress – Former head coach Gordon Knisely (1971-1984) and his daughter Debra are finalizing a transcript for a book to be published describing Gordie’s life to date on and off the baseball field.  How about perfect attendance during his teaching career for starters?  It certainly will be a must read.

As always, Go Vikings!

Craig Haueter (Email),  (330) 936-1695

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