Many avid baseball fans will tell you the south is the hot bed for baseball, and this may be true. For the 16U Ohio Elite baseball team, the aformentioned statement is completely false. When LSU was wrapping up their sixth national title in Omaha, Nebraska, the Elite squad led by Patrick Moreland, Caleb Woodson, Michael O’Neill and Josh Dezse, among others were doing some winning of their own. In the Omaha Slump Buster Tourney, held the same week of the College World Series, the 16U team rose above the competition to take the crown in a tournament involving the best teams in the nation for the second year in a row. This feat was magnified by the fact that this team compiled of players from around Central Ohio, haven’t only won this tournament twice, but also won tournaments in Pickerington, and Indianapolis recently. This wasnt the only major accomplishment for the team, they have beaten multiple teams from Texas and were recently invited to the Wood Bat World Series presented by Perfect Game. Arguably, the most impressive stat is that they are ranked #24 in the nation by Perfect Game and the top team in the state of Ohio.
The club is a group of tightknit ball players that put aside their stardom they enjoy at their respective high schools, and get the job done as one. As Catcher Caleb Woodson puts it, “Hard work and god given talent with good coaching combine to form a great team that shines on and off the field.”
In a day and age where youth athletes receive exposure for their talents in atheltics, the same can be said for this team. Tyler Stage, one of the team’s top pitchers threw a complete game, one-hitter today in the Buckeye Elite Showdown, a tournament involving teams from all over the Midwest and Canada. Stage, who will be a senior in the fall, has received interest in many D1 schools across the country, including Kent State, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech, due in part to the velocity he has on his fastball. In the showcase before the Buckeye Elite tourney, Stage hit 89 four times on the radar gun, major league speed from a kid still maturing. Stage looks on pace to be pitching on the Big Stage one day.
Another dominant pitcher that scouts are drooling about is Josh Dezse, an incoming senior who also gets it done at the plate, batting around .600. Dezse has been scouted by virtually every team in the Big Ten and around the country including Ohio State, Michigan State, and Louisville. Dezse was recently offered a full ride scholarship to Ohio University but has yet to make a committment to any school. Dezse hopes to be drafted next June, the same draft that SI wunderkid Bryce Harper will be entering, another player this team has defeated.
The next star-studded athlete is Brad Carrico, who also happens to play baseball. Carrico, who is 6′6″, 250 LBS, is an everyday player when he is not at football, which seems to be his calling card. Carrico, another incoming senior, was offered a full ride scholarship to play football for the Cincinnati Bearcats, the reigning Big East Champions and Orange Bowl participant. Probably the most jaw dropping stat about Carrico is that the big guy runs a 4.85 40 yard dash, a very rare statistic for someone his size.
Baseball runs in the blood of loyal fans everywhere and the next mentioned player literally has the blood line. Mike O’Neill, nephew of former Yankee and Red, Paul O’Neill, is another aspiring prospect. O’Neill has been scouted by Michigan State and Louisville and ran a 6.5 in the 60 yard dash. Success stories are a plenty with players that have the genetics to get it done, and O’Neill looks to be right on track.
Isaac Beller is another key part to a team that looks immune to anything thrown their way. Similar to the Braves pitching staffs of the 90s, the Ohio Elite squad has a solid rotation of future D1 players. Beller, is another good one. In his last game he pitched, Ohio University made the trip up from Athens to watch the prospect throw a game in which he won decisively. Another great performance from a club that seems to come up clutch every summer.
The next two spotlights are on two players I know very well. Patrick Moreland and Caleb Woodson are two players that have played together since tee-ball and continue to get it done each year. Moreland, who is coming off an arm injury, has blazing speed on the basepaths, swiping 15 bags in 20 games. The most compelling stat is that Moreland, who will be a junior at Dublin Coffman next year, has only been caught stealing once, impressive considering he is running on the top pitchers and catchers in the country. Woodson, the catcher and arguably funniest guy on the team, drew the interest from the head coach of Indianapolis University, a D2 program in the state’s capital. Woodson has a rocket arm and a slick bat, similar to Joe Mauer. These two seem to get better each summer and do everything in their power to lead their teams to success.
It’s really amazing in the age of contract disputes and selfish superstars, that a team composed of cant miss prospects is getting it done at such a great rate and meanwhile having fun in the process.
“We just go out there and get the job done, no matter what. This team is a team, nobody is an individual and we let the country know that in each and every tournament,” Moreland was quoted the day before the Championship Round of Buckeye Elite.
Ohio Elite looks to play in the Championship at Bill Davis Stadium, the home of THE Ohio State Buckeyes tomorrow, time still has yet to be determined due to the rain the past two days. Make sure to check this team out, and see the promise of this team and the players on it, and see for yourself how these guys are the real deal. They arent called Ohio Elite for no reason.