As the Cincinnati Enquirer recognized its spring sport outstanding performers, the Greater Miami Conference found itself in a familiar position of placing a large number of athletes and coaches on the all-city teams in each of the GMC sponsored spring sports.
Outstanding performers were highlighted by the selection of the following athletes and coaches:
Baseball Co-Players of the Year - Cory Heffron (Colerain) and Nick Northcut (Mason)
Softball Co-Player of the Year - Elena Harrison (Mason) and Coach of the Year - Liann Muff (Mason)
Boys Tennis Player of the Year - Alex Taylor (Sycamore) and Coach of the Year - Mike Teets (Sycamore)
Boys Track Coach of the Year - Hank Ray (Sycamore)
Numerous GMC athletes were additionally selected on the Enquirer's All-City teams and they are available through: http://www.cincinnati.com/sports/oh-high-school/
Impact of High School Softball Pitching Distance - submitted by Lakota West Sports Information Director, Bob Ashby
The softball pitching distance was increased from 40 feet to 43 feet starting with the 2011 season. The purpose of this National Federation of High School Softball rule change as stated by Mary Struckhoff is given below.
''Our main thrust is getting the defense more involved,'' NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee Mary Struckhoff recently told the Associated Press. ''When more balls are hit into play, the defense is more involved in the game, thus enhancing skill development.''
Now after six years of play at the new distance it appears that the change has accomplished its purpose. Lakota West Co-Sports Information Director and Sports Statistician Bob Ashby has taken a look at the cumulative GMC statistics for the last twelve years comparing the six seasons (2005-2010) before the pitching distance increase to the six seasons (2011-2016) following the change.
Ashby's findings are as follows.
The league six year batting averages went up from .241 (2005-2010) to .282 (2011-2016). The low average for a single season was .219 in 2006 with the highest average of .314 occurring in 2014.
The number of strike outs over the same periods has fallen from 1766 to 1340 per year. That's a drop of 24% in the most recent six years when compared to the previous six years. The single season high was 2028 K's in 2006 as compared to the low mark of 1049 in 2015.
The most dramatic change has occurred in the number of home runs hit. The average home run count for the past six seasons has been 78 per year, up from 36.3 for the previous six years.
The low home run count in this 12 season span was 25 in 2005 and the high number has been 92 round trippers in the season just concluded.
While there are other factors that may be effecting these stats, i.e.; more strength and weight training, improved bat technology, increased player specialization, some change in league composition (Mason replaced Milford in 2008) it appears safe to say that pitching distance is most probably the major factor.
Colerain senior quarterback Deshaunte Jones lead the Cardinals to a 2016 Division I state semi-finalist berth with a 12-2 record. As a senior, he rushed for 1,860 yards, 29 touchdowns while passing for 785 yards and 9 touchdowns. During his Cardinal career, the Ohio Mr. Football finalist accounted for more than 5,000 total yards and 74 touchdowns. Honors earned while under center for the Cards included...GMC Offensive Player of the Year, AP Southwest District Player of the Year and first team all-state. Earning a full scholarship, Deshaunte will take his football talents to Iowa State this fall.
Article contributed by Mike Dyer.
Mason / Pitt standout right hand pitcher, TJ Zuech, was selected in the first round of the MLB draft by the Toronto Bluejays. The 6'7" Zuech was taken with the 21st pick overall. Touting a 97 MPH fastball, Zuech was 6-1 this past season for Pitt with a 3.10 ERA. An All-ACC performer, TJ was the highest draft pick in Pitt baseball history. Congratulations on a job well done and best wishes for an outstanding professional career. GMC proud of TJ Zuech!
Indicative that the Greater Miami Conference boasts some of Ohio's finest student athletes, several GMC softball and baseball players were selected to All-Ohio teams this past week.
All-Ohio in SOFTBALL:
Hannah Messer - Lakota East - Infielder
Taylor Wilp - Oak Hills - Infielder
Allie Cummins - Lakota West - Infielder
Kianah Towe - Lakota East - pitcher
Elle Buffenbarger - Mason - pitcher
All-Ohio in BASEBALL:
Cory Heffron - Colerain - outfielder
Nick Northcut - Mason - Infielder
Congratulations to these outstanding athletes on their state-wide recognition of an job extremely well done this season!