The Rams baseball season ended a few weeks ago against the Ottawa Hills Green Bears, who will be playing for a chance at an OHSAA State Championship later this week.
As the Tinora Rams baseball team entered the 2023 season, they and longtime head coach Brent Renollet realized they had some big shoes to fill after a big graduated class.
Graduated from last seasons team that finished 21-6, captured their 5th straight GMC title, making it to the district finals before losing to Ottawa Hills 4-0, were seniors Jayden Bergman, 2nd team GMC, Bryce Bailey, Cole Commisso, 1st team GMC, Nolan Schafer 1st team GMC, Tristan Birks, Casen Wolfrum, 1st team all GMC, Keegan Miles, & Tyler Wiemken.
The 2023 Rams entered with a senior class of seven, Luke Harris, Korbin Casteel, Ty Wiemken, Eli Plassman, Dalton Wolfrum, Jacob Overly, and Teron Ward, all would be the first class to play on the newly installed turf at Grube Field.
With the ’22 staff mostly gone via graduation (16 wins), the only returning letterwinners with any varsity pitching experience were Eli Plassman and Alec Schaublin, who combined for 3 wins and 31 innings of work.
Looking at the season ahead for the Rams, for the first time in years, minimal experience returned. The Rams coaching staff knew they had work that needed to be done if the 2023 season were to be successful.
Jumping into the ace role, early was the three-headed monster of Eli Plassman, Alec Schaublin, and Korbin Casteel.
A mid-season injury to Schaublin would derail the sophomore’s great start at 5-1 on the hill, but Korbin Casteel would step out in front of the pack with one of the last decade’s best late-season performances.
Most of the lineup also needed to be replaced as well, with minimal experience returning to the plate. Graduated senior Cole Commisso set a Rams record with 50 RBI, breaking all-time great Clay Pittman’s record of 46 set in 2013. Commisso also batted .505 for the season, 5th all-time for a Rams batter.
A preseason test vs the preseason the state ranked Lincolnview Lancers would give the Rams a test of where they would be. Tinora dominated the Lancers, giving them an early boost of confidence.
Although inexperience was abound, the Rams started the season at 6-0. Key wins over McComb and Leipsic kick-started the season.
A conference loss to GMC favorite Wayne Trace may have derailed the Rams GMC hopes, but they rebounded two days later with a thrilling comeback win over conference foe Fairview, 11-9. Junior BJ Morlock came in for a huge save to cap the thriller. Tinora stood at 7-1 a third of the way into the season.
The Rams would suffer tough defeats in two of their next three games. An ugly road loss to Edgerton would eliminate the Rams GMC title hopes at 2-2 in the conference, and a chilly, rainy Saturday afternoon loss to Napoleon would put the Rams at 11-3 overall.
The Rams would rip off a steak, winning 11 of their next 12 games, a close 3-2 loss on Saturday in Kalida was the only hiccup during the final stretch. Although a loss, the highlight of the season was a Grady Gustwiller diving catch in center.
Big wins during that stretch came against Antwerp, Bryan, state-ranked Columbus Grove and Patrick Henry would again put the Tinora Rams back into the state rankings.
A 5-3 win over Ottoville during that stretch on May 4 was another milestone for Rams head coach Brent Renollet. Now in his 23rd season as the leader of the Rams, Renollet collected his 400th win as a member of the Rams.
May 15, Senior Day. A day that will always be remembered by Rams players, coaches, and family members. A day to celebrate the careers of the six seniors, Luke Harris, Korbin Casteel, Ty Wiemken, Eli Plassman, Dalton Wolfrum, and Teron Ward, and their parents.
A late-season thriller resulted in a loss to Archbold and saw the Rams regular season ends at 19-5 as the Rams headed to the postseason as the #1 seed in the Defiance region.
As the OHSAA postseason got underway, the Rams welcomed in a familiar opponent, Ottawa Hills. The Green Bears knocked out the Rams from the 2022 postseason and entered as one of the teams to beat in the ’23 postseason.
Sebastian Stevens, and Ottawas Hills, ended the Rams baseball season with a dominating performance, a 7-1 win over Tinora.
At the top of the lineup was sophomore Ayden Moser, Moser wasted little time getting his feet wet, jumping into the leadoff roll like a true Ram. Moser would play a solid left field, while leading the Rams in walks and runs scored.
The duo of Kadyn Radzik and Dalton Wolfrum would ignite the Rams offense for much of the season.
Coming in off a great wrestling season, Wolfrum would take over the catching duties his senior season. Despite minimal playing time as a junior, Wolfrum would become a team leader. Dalton would also lead the team in average, hits, steals, and tie in RBIs with 26. Wolfrum would hit over .400 most of the season, finishing at .388, and would be a clutch hitter all season for the Rams.
Radzik, a two-year starter, would again shine in the field, and take the next step at the plate. Radzik would tie Wolfrum in RBIs with 26 to lead the team, finishing second in hits, and average with a.366. Kadyn has another season remaining, and a bright future awaits.
Teron Ward was back at the hot corner at third in ’23. Ward, one of the few returning players to see playing time in 2022, was again steady on the field and at the plate. Teron would lead the team in doubles and hold down the cleanup spot all season.
Luke Harris, coming in off one of the best individual basketball seasons in decades, was in right field, and what a great season Luke had in the field. Harris would shine, making many spectacular plays for the Rams. At the plate, Harris was steady, with the ability to put the ball in play and move runners when called upon.
Eli Plassman was again a presence on the mound and in the field at second base. Plassman entered the season with the most experience on the mound with his 2.80 ERA in 20 innings thrown in ’22. Eli would have great games against Elmwood, Antwerp, and Bluffton, and would end his senior season with a 4-1 mark and a 2,72 ERA.
Senior Korbin Casteel shows what hard work during the off-season can do. Korbin threw just 7 1/3 varsity innings last season and became the leader of the pitching staff by the season’s end. Castell would end the season with a 6-3, 1.81 ERA and lead the team in innings pitched and strikeouts.
His last month was one of the most dominating on the hill in the last decade for any Tinora hurler.
The remaining senior, Trent Wiemken showed what a true teammate is, doing whatever was asked at any given moment when his number was called upon.
Underclassman Grady Gustwiller, Hunter Bostelman, and Alec Schaublin all had their day in the sun as well in ’23.
Not a game went by that Grady didn’t put excitement in the air with in the field or on the base paths. Schaublin was on track for a great season before a mid-season injury that cut short his campaign. Bostelman gained some game action in the field and on the mound due to the Schaublin injury, which will benefit him and the Rams in 2024.
The incoming senior class of BJ Morlock, Conor Wolfrum, and Rylee Peters will have some big shoes to fill in ’24. Wolfrum shined in a late season start vs Delta, and Morlock had a few opportunities closing games. Peters had a nice glove in the field when the opportunity knocked.
The Rams ended their season with a 19-6 record, 5-2 in the GMC.
Of all the teams under his toolage in the last two decades, this 2023 team could be Renollet’s best coaching job.
BR, without any doubt, should be the coach of the year in this area, hands down, just a fantastic job by him and the Rams staff to get this team to believe they could, and did, play with anyone at any time.
It was a great honor to follow and cover this team in 2023.
As I said to a few parents over the years, even though I don’t have any kid on the team, each year it seems like a graduating senior player is a like a family member.
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*Wins – Korbin Casteel 6
*K’s – Casteel – 44
*ERA – Alec Schaublin 1.00 (10 or more IP)
*Average – Dalton Wolfrum .388
*Home Runs – Schaublin 2
*Doubles – Teron Ward 7
*RBI – D Wolfrum & Radzik 26
*Runs scored – Moser 29
*Hits – D Wolfrum 31
*Stolen Bases – D Wolfrum 26 (tied for 1st All-Time (Austin Farrington)
*Walks – Moser 20
Post season awards:
All GMC 1st team – Dalton Wolfrum, Alec Schaublin
2nd team: Kadyn Radzik
Honorable Mention – Korbin Casteel
Listen back to the games, click below:
Link to the coverage of the 2023 season:
Overall GMC standings ’23
Pics courtesy Sarah Harris, Morgan Diaz, Joanie Harris & Mrs. Wells, thank you all!
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