AMELIA – One year after being restricted to local round robin competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic, baseball organization 18U Midland Redskins is excited to defend its Connie Mack World Series title.
With last season’s tournament canceled, the elite of all Midland teams in Farmington, New Mexico will seek their fourth straight championship and 17th place overall.
The Redskins last won two years ago in 2019 and came from the consolation group. In 2018, Cal Conley of West Clermont (now with Texas Tech) and Lane Flamm (Xavier) and Zade Richardson (organizing the St. Louis Cardinals) of New Richmond played key roles in bringing the trophy home.
In 2017, Luke Waddell of Loveland (Georgia Tech) was part of the title run with Conley and Flamm.
In addition to a who’s who of the foreign players, Midland’s top squad again has some well-known high school faces who are looking for the winning pile in New Mexico at the end of July. Some will then go to prestigious college programs.
McNicholas’ infielder Lauden Brooks was on the roster at the Midland Complex in Amelia last year. The Greater Catholic League-Coed Division Player of the Year and Kentucky Signatory is now supported by Rockets pitcher Brady Hopkins (Bellarmine).
Another player close by is Anderson’s Josh Overbeek, Eastern Cincinnati Conference Player of the Year, who will travel to Pitt.
“I’m happy to be part of the team this year,” said Overbeek. “There are a lot of good guys, a lot of outside people. I’m studying. We’re here to play ball and that’s it. It’s pretty much 24/7/365. I’m trying to win four (championship).” Year.”
Overbeek, like the rest of the Redskins, is getting used to the wooden bat this summer. His teammate / roommate, Owen Blackledge from North Canton Hoover, is helping him who will be going to TCU. Blackledge is the son of former Penn State and NFL quarterback Todd Blackledge.
“At the moment we are all focused on that,” said Overbeek. “It’s cool to see how the boys are in a row.”
Also from ECC is Trevor Conley of West Clermont, the brother of Cal, who led the league in batting and will play at Howard College in Texas, an hour and a half from Texas Tech, where Cal plays. Michael Conte is a pitcher from Walnut Hills who will next star in Central Michigan.
“This is my second year at Midland and I think we have more than good chances of winning this Connie Mack,” said Conte. “The biggest thing for me is to learn from all of these guys. They have got to the point where they are because they are good at something. For me, is that what I can learn from all these guys? “
From the Greater Catholic League-South, there’s Clay Burdette from Moeller (Ohio State Commit) and Devin Taylor (Indiana Commit) from La Salle, who is also a sophomore with the Redskins. Taylor was the first team of GCL-South as a newcomer in 2019, missed 2020 like everyone else and missed a few months of last season due to injury. The sweet-swinging 17-year-old left-hander is hoping for a successful summer.
“You have to work for it every day,” said Taylor of winning a championship. “They won’t just give it to people who don’t really deserve it. Those who deserve it go. My goal is to do my best every day, to do my best for the team.”
GCL-South Pitcher of the Year William Jaun from St. Xavier was also included in the 2021 list.
“When you come from GCL-South, you are always taught that this is the best league in Ohio,” said Jaun. “You come down here and meet the best of the best. It was an honor to compete with the best of the best in daily training and against the guys you play against on the other team. It’s an honor to learn from other guys who are really talented. “
Unfortunately, Jaun recently got injured and is out for the time being. He joins Cornell of the Ivy League where he hopes to continue his career as a two-way player after his recovery.
Former Oak Hills player Cam Brandt is an infielder in the roster who plays in Northern Kentucky but is eligible to join due to his birthday. Fenwick pitcher Carter Earls and Vandalia Butler catcher Boston Smith are both on the team from Cincinnati Universities.
From the Greater Miami Conference, strikeout thrower Evan Whiteaker from Lakota East is also an Indiana engagement like Taylor from La Salle. Whiteaker had 78 strikeouts in 41.2 innings with a 2.02 ERA for the Thunderhawks.
“I’ve been playing for Midland since I was 12 and I’ve attended a million Redskins games,” said Whiteaker. “Just hearing about Farmington and that experience and being part of a team that could potentially win a fourth in a row is a great thing to be a part of.”
The Redskins, coached by Dave Evans, have their eyes on the award again in northwest New Mexico, where she will automatically be offered as the defending champion by Connie Mack in late July. The team is no longer controlled by the Hayden family, who were sold to St. Louis businessman Matt Shadow over the winter.
Shadow runs Bandit Baseball from St. Louis and his team will become the Midland Bandits after this season, with the current Midland teams in Ohio keeping their names.
“It’s a program that you know has a great history,” Shadow said in March. “I see it as the New York Yankees of youth baseball. You can’t just let that go. It’s an opportunity that I think is great. I’m grateful to the Hayden family.”
Midland history includes names that will be remembered by many: Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., Todd Benzinger, Ron Oester, Bill Doran, Chris Welsh, Richard Dotson, and Jim Leyritz. Newer names include great league players Andrew Benintendi, Eric Hosmer, Luke Maile, Scooter Gennett, and Matt Harvey.