Mitch Herbst and Ryan Horstman are double threats for the Olentangy Berlin baseball team.
The seniors are a 1-2 stroke on the plate, and lead the bears in all major stroke categories. In the field, Herbst excels on the mound while Horstman provides outstanding defense in the midfield.
They are also team leaders, but coach Mike Weaver said they went for that role in different ways.
“Mitch is a lively boy to say the least, and he has risen to be our best player,” said Weaver, whose team was 11-9 overall and 5-5 in the OCC Cardinal Division before playing Hilliard Darby on May 7. “Ryan talks everything about his game. He’s our best athlete, and he’s probably the fastest kid I’ve ever trained. He covers all kinds of slopes in midfield and gets to balls that I don’t think anyone can reach.”
Each player had a couple of home runs before May 7, but Herbst made an exclamation point with his, as both were grand slams. The other came April 28 in a 17-2, five-lap of Marysville during a league competition where he went 3-for-3 and ran in nine races.
“I (hit) the four-hole, so I have to run in the race,” said Herbst, who has committed to Marietta. “Ryan was our No. 2 hit, but he hit so well that he moved down to No. 5 to run more races.”
Through 19 games, Herbst Bears led in batting averages (.436), RBI (30) and on-base percentage (.529). He also had 13 goals, seven doubles and a .673 slugging percentage.
Horstman is committed to Bryant & Stratton, a junior college in Cleveland. He hit .365 with 22 RBI and had team heights in runs (24), doubles (8), triples (4), stolen bases (8) and slugging percentage (.714).
“I would probably say I lead by example,” Horstman said. “I’m not the guy who fires people. I’ve never been that kind of guy. I think if I go out and give 100 percent, it will infect everyone and make them better.
“I believe in giving 100 percent and playing for the team. You may have ups and downs beaten, but the defense is always there. “
On the mound, Herbst was 3-2 with a 4.15 ERA, 38 strikes and 18 rounds in 25 1/3 innings.
“I’m going to Marietta to be just a PO / DH pitcher and a designated hitter,” Herbst said. “I have really worked on making pitching for when I go there.
“I have three lanes, a change, a quick ball and a basket, and I trust my basket because it can be dirty. It starts at the head and falls all the way down to the knees. ”
Horstman is proud of his defense and knows when to dive for the ball, and when it’s best to let it fall and hold the hitter to a single.
“The first time you see the ball outside the bat – your first jump – is so important to run down a fly ball,” said Horstman, who had two assists in the field and had not yet made a mistake through 19 games. “As soon as you see it outside the bat, you have to get it jumped. If you do not have it, you can not normally get to the ball. It helps you know whether to go for it and dive for the ball or let it fall. You must have these instincts.
“I know how far I can go. I have been diving for balls all my life, and I have the speed I can get to many balls. ”
Horstman is serious. Herbst is noisy, but also quick to point out that he is not the Bears’ main motivator. That’s the role of senior third baseman Jake Kinkead.
“Our most important leader is Jake Kinkead,” said Herbst. “When he gets everyone up, I come in as the guy who keeps everyone up and hyped up and ready to go. I’m kind of the hype man for us. ”