By Chris Chaney
That was 34 years ago. It was also the last time a Goshen Warriors baseball team won a Southern Buckeye Conference title. 12 games into the 2013 season, those same Warriors find themselves atop the SBC-American Division with an 11-3 record.
“Right now, we’re off to a great start,” head coach Mark Reed said. “We’ve got a younger team and we’re exceeding expectations, coming out as an underdog in our league. We’ve got great senior leadership and a lot of underclassmen who have stepped up and we’re starting to surprise a lot of teams.”
Prepping for the season mostly indoors due to lingering winter weather, the Warriors had a daily reminder hanging from the gym rafters of just how long it had been since the school had taken home a league championship.
Jumping out to a 4-1 start exemplified the desire to put a new, more recent number up on that banner next to “1979.”
Holding a one-game lead over Western Brown, a team that the Warriors dispatched of 8-2 on April 8, the first part of the season is in the books and the second rotation through the league looms large in the eyes of Warrior nation.
Dropping only one game in the league so far – a 6-2 loss to Amelia in the second game of the year – Goshen has beaten the rest of the SBC-American by a combined 34-9.
The Warriors mix of talent, experience and desire have put the team on the brink of history. Oddly enough, much of this team isn’t all that different from the squad a year ago that went 5-12 and finished the season in the cellar of the SBC.
Asked about the leadership on the team, one guy is always the first out of Coach Reed’s mouth: Alex Edwards.
The senior centerfielder and pitcher has taken to the leadership role like a pig to mud. Hitting just under .470, Edwards has also knocked in 10 runs and stolen eight bases.
Even more impressive are his stats from the mound. Edwards holds a sub-1.00 earned run average and already has a no-hitter under his belt this season, a 5-1 victory over Bethel-Tate on Friday, April 5.
“He’s been doing extremely well,” Reed said. “He’s one of our captains, a centerfielder. He does a little bit of everything for us.”
Edwards is getting help from all over as well. Goshen is getting runners on, over and in at a breakneck pace, forcing their opponents to push and make mistakes that the Warriors can take advantage of.
The roster is made up of four seniors, nine juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen, so the experience garnered from last year’s season is proving fruitful at the midway point this year.
Although the Warriors hold the top spot, Reed still considers New Richmond to be the team to beat in the SBC.
“Last year, they were the No. 1 team in Ohio in DII for a period of time,” he said of the Lions. “If we want to win a league championship, the title runs through New Richmond.”
The Warriors were able to go through New Richmond the first time through the league, taking down one of the defending co-league champions 7-4 in a Cincinnati Reds Futures Showcase game.
An extremely competitive league, four other teams are still mathematically alive to win the title and all four are itching for another go at the league leaders.
The Warriors will begin their second time through the league on Friday, April 26 when they travel to avenge their lone league loss at Amelia, and finish out the season with four of their last six games in conference.
Still, the goal remains the same.
“Simply, our goal is to win the league title,” Reed said. This team is extremely hungry, extremely dedicated. They come every single day ready to play. The chemistry on this team in phenomenal, everybody gets along and as a result, they play well together. We all have that unified goal of doing something special. We want to do something that 33 teams have yet to do and that, of course, is to win the league title.”