The baseball team at the top of the heap in Division II in the Central District isn’t unfamiliar to the spot.
Jonathan Alder (17-2) was tabbed by the coaches in the district as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming D-II tournament, marking the seventh time in eight years the Pioneers are among the top two seeds in the tourney.
The team has a first-round bye and will host the winner of No. 18 Linden and No. 20 Whitehall on Thursday, May 11 at 5 p.m.
“I think it’s a testament to the regular season we’ve had up to this point,” Pioneers coach Craig Kyle said. “We’ve won a lot of games against some really good competition in D-II. We’ve played a tough non-league schedule and the other coaches in the district have recognized that.
“You always want to be one of the top seeds because it means you’ve played well. But it also means that we will be playing with a big bulls-eye on our backs because we are the top seed.
With the top seed in Alder’s hand, seeds 2-4 (Lakewood, DeSales and Bloom-Carroll) all went in the opposite bracket. The biggest threat to the Pioneers quest for a district crown could come in the form of No. 6 Watterson. The Eagles topped Alder 2-1 Monday in a non-conference tilt that could be the preview of a district final.
The coach said his team won’t dwell on what didn’t go well against Watterson and won’t fret about the fact the Pioneers program has gone the last couple seasons without winning a district crown.
“We’re feeling really good about where we’re at right now,” Gehres said. “The best thing as a coach is I don’t think we’ve played our best collectively. We can take another step forward.
“We honestly don’t talk about what happened yesterday or last year for that matter, we don’t look back. We preach next pitch, next game. There’s no revenge factor. We’re playing for this year, we’ll continue to look forward.”
Other top seeded teams in the Alder bracket are No. 5 Bexley and No. 7 Granville.
London (5-8) is the 14th seed and will play at No. 11 Bishop Hartley in its tournament opener Tuesday, May 9 at 5 p.m. The winner will advance to face either No. 8 Johnstown or No. 19 Marion Franklin Thursday, May 11.
The Roughriders of West Jefferson have had a solid spring thus far and were rewarded with the No. 4 seed in the upcoming D-III tournament.
West Jefferson will host Liberty Union Monday, May 8 at 5 p.m.
Madison-Plains is seeded 15th out of the 17 teams in the D-III tournament and will also open the postseason Monday, May 8 at No. 2 seed Worthington Christian, the start is slated for 5 p.m.
The winner of the first round tilt will advance to face either No. 4 West Jeff or No. 12 Liberty Union Wednesday, May 10.
The Shekinah Christian baseball team received the 11th seed (out of 18) in D-IV, but will play a tough game in its opener.
The Flames (4-10) drew No. 3 seed Fisher Catholic and will play in Lancaster Tuesday, May 9 at 5 p.m.
The winner of the first round match-up will advance to the second round and will host No. 14 Madison Christian May 11.
The team hasn’t had a whole lot to cheer about this season, but is coming off of its best offensive performance of the season in a 17-4 victory over Wellington Monday, May 1. The Flames collected 16 hits and John Michael Hershberger picked up the win in the run-rule shortened contest.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.