Buckeyes plans 2022 after missing NCAAs – press pros magazine
This team had more than a few chances to make a post-season berth run, but never got into a pace to have a serious run; Now the work is starting to make sure that doesn’t happen next season.
Columbus – The last day of a varsity baseball season is usually melancholy, sentimental, heartbreaking, or all of the above, unless the team is celebrating a national championship on the field in Omaha.
So it was for the state of Ohio on a cold and sunny Sunday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium.
The players had a brief interview with coach Greg Beals before meeting their families and taking photos and more photos.
There was the sight of junior reliever Bayden Root standing on a tarp-covered mound staring at an imaginary receiver sign once again until 2022.
The seniors were hanging out around the frames with their game jerseys inside. Then they inscribed their names on a new wall of honor.
The Buckeyes lost 8-2 to Northwestern in a baseball game in which both teams played the rope, and the positive result was five seniors, Conner Pohl, Joe Gahm, Patrick Murphy, Scottie Seymour and Jake Vance, received a thank you sincere.
Winning two of three games against the Wildcats (15-21) will give the team a little boost going into the offseason.
The fun was supposed to extend beyond Memorial Day weekend, but Ohio State (22-20) never entered any kind of pace to scare Nebraska conference leaders, Michigan and Maryland.
“At Ohio State, you expect to play for championships and you expect to play in the national tournament,” Beals said. “It’s a failure from that point of view. You thank the seniors and you warn the newcomers that there is a lot of work to be done. ”
But with any observation must come the fact that COVID-19 protocols have made this the most difficult season in history to be a varsity baseball player.
The Buckeyes had to make bus trips to faraway places such as Greenville, South Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, the Rutgers and Indiana spaced apart and wearing masks every minute.
When in hotels, players couldn’t mingle, and their access to the outside world was perhaps limited to a convenience store if they needed a snack. Meetings have taken place on Zoom.
The only spectators allowed inside the stadiums were family, relatives and friends. The number of people at the games was several hundred.
Yes, it was certainly a joy for them to play ball after playing 14 games in 2020, but there was the ubiquitous virus that could have threatened anything they were working for with just a few infections.
“I’m really honest with the guys. I have stated facts, ” Beals said. “I told them these are the things we are asked to do and these are the things we need to do to do what we love to do. You suck it off and do what you need to do. ”
Ohio State lost a streak to COVID, and that was because Minnesota had at least one case and canceled.
The Buckeyes were able to schedule a catch-up game against Purdue, but they finished two games under the 44-game maximum the Big Ten placed in their squads.
Would things have been any different if they had swept the Gophers and got 26 wins?
Or how about being able to sweep Penn State and Purdue rather than take two out of three?
This would have given them 28 wins and the NCAA Tournament Committee should have taken note.
The longest winning streak has been three games against Illinois to open the schedule in Greenville, SC, and a five-man player that included a four-game home sweep from Indiana.
Otherwise it was a step forward and too often two steps back.
The sweep against the Hoosiers was followed by two of three losses in Michigan and being swept away in Maryland.
The game that sealed Ohio State’s fate came when it led Nebraska 9-2 in the seventh inning last Saturday to lose 11-9 when the bullpen collapsed.
“The point is, there is always a fine line between winning and losing and having a good seasons,” Beals said. “You might be talking about three or four games. You can tell that not getting into the Minnesota series hurts us. This affected the course of our season. This series could have been a real boost. You can’t find any excuse for it. We had our chances of winning matches. Simply, quite frankly, we’ve lost the fine line. ”
It’s also true that while this team had stars in first baseman Conner Pohl, shortstop Zach Dezenzo, first-year center fielder Kade Kern and ace pitcher Garrett Burhenn, there was way too much. of holes to make a race.
The last four or five spots on the batting order after Kern, Dezenzo, Pohl and receiver designated hitter Brent Todys had to pedal hard just to stay above the dreaded Mendoza line.
After Burhenn, no starter has been able to consistently give the team a chance to win.
This put a lot of pressure on a box of Root, Joe Gahm, Patrick Murphy and closer TJ Brock who looked tired in the past few weeks from having to work too many innings.
Brock saved nine games and overall was a safety cover at the end of games.
The holes were huge:
- Opposing teams stole 83 bases in 97 attempts. The second highest total in the conference was Illinois with 52 licenses.
- The batting order has been cleared six times. Hitters ranked 12e overall in the Big Ten and – turn away if you have a weak stomach – 11e in hits, 10e in total goals and ninth in races in the Big Ten before the weekend.
- The team average was .247 and only Minnesota at .235 was lower. He had the third most strikeouts in the conference.
- The defense wasn’t bad, but it made 20 double plays and 14 multi-error games.
“Obviously the season hasn’t gone the way we designed it to be,” said Beals. “With all of that being said, I told the guys I was proud of them. I was proud of them for everything they went through this year and for their persistence through it all. As everything around them changed, the fellowship of our program has not changed. They might have even grown this year, and that’s something to build on. ”
Juniors Dezenzo, Burhenn, Brock, Seth Lonsway and Jack Neely could be lost to the Major League Baseball Draft which begins July 11 in Atlanta. It would be a torpedo strike.
“You’re always impatient,” Beals said. “The season is over and I have to figure out how to win the next game. The next step is assessment, and for me, it’s self-assessment. What do we need to do to do better? The process has already started. I know what we missed this year and what we need to reinstate in the program. We have a pretty good idea (what to do). ”