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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester baseball puts together first winning season since 2005

  • The Panthers fell to district finalist Tuslaw 3-1 in their opening round tournament game, but went 8-6 in the PAC-7, good for fourth place. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, and Fairless were co-champions at 10-4.

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  • The Panthers baseball team made great strides this season under the direction of coach Derrick Mauger, posting a 16-11 record. It was the program’s best finish during Mauger’s five-year tenure.
    The Panthers fell to district finalist Tuslaw 3-1 in their opening round tournament game, but went 8-6 in the PAC-7, good for fourth place. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, and Fairless were co-champions at 10-4.
    “Overall, I was pleased with our season,” Mauger said. “You always look at a few games here and there and you think you could have won, but 16-11 is a big improvement. I know we fell short of some of the goals we set for ourselves, but we played good baseball.”
    It was the team’s first winning season since 2005.
    “Even though we lost our first game of the season, it was a great game,” he said of the year.
    “I would also say the doubleheader at Woodridge, because Mitch Keim struck-out 20 in an eight-inning win. The second game we also got a great performance from Cody Miller, who threw a complete game shutout.
    “The two low points were at Indian Valley, and CVCA, because we beat ourselves. In each of those games our defense played poorly and we gave them too many unearned runs.”
    Keim, who was voted as the PAC-7 Player of the Year, led the team in three offensive categories batting .476 with eight home runs, and 36 RBI.
    He also went 5-0 on the mound, and set a school record with 73 strikeouts.
    Cody Herman was second on the team with a .453 average, and scored 25 runs. Jake Bumgarner hit .364 and scored a team-high 26 runs.
    Dylan Lehmier had a 2-0 record pitching with one save, while Cody Miller and Chandler Stahl both were 2-2 and Griffiths was 2-6 with a 2.04 ERA.
    As every season goes, Manchester will lose some top-notch players via graduation.
    “Cody (Herman) will be difficult to replace. His leadership and experience behind the plate and in the lead off slot will be missed,” said Mauger.
    “Mitch’s (Keim) talent on the mound and at the plate cannot be replaced. He’s a special kid.  Zack (Kaufman) brought leadership and a great mentality every day. He really matured this year.
    “It looks good. Despite losing all of those key players, our pitching staff will return mostly intact, and pitching is a key to success,” Mauger said of the team’s future.
    PANTHER NOTES: The Panthers had three players named to the all-league unit. Keim and Herman were both first-team selections, while Kaufman was an honorable mention choice.