Pettorini swinging big stick this year at OSU

Pettorini swinging big stick this year at OSU

A few thoughts from the week in sports …

What a difference a year has made for Ohio State baseball player Tyler Pettorini.

As the Buckeyes (28-25, 6-15 Big Ten) enter their final series of the season in which they’ll host Michigan May 18-20, the Wooster High School graduate leads the team with a .319 batting average.

Pettorini, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound infielder-designated hitter, has collected 45 hits in 141 at-bats and scored 24 runs to go with 25 RBI. Primarily hitting third or fifth in the order, the lefty batter has eight doubles, three triples and three home runs.

It’s been a vast improvement over Pettorini’s freshman year in which he batted .218, with six doubles, 14 RBI and 24 runs.

“Obviously, I wanted to win more games, but I’ve felt good at the plate all year and my swing felt good,” said Pettorini, who’s played second base and third base and only committed two errors in 52 chances when not at DH. “I felt good in the infield when I got the opportunity to start there.

“I really hit the weight room this past summer. Obviously, I need to work more and get bigger, but I made a big jump in the summer. I just pretty much worked really hard every day.”

The even bigger difference has been in the leadership of the program. Bill Mosiello, 58, was named Ohio State’s head coach on June 16, 2022, and brought with him a wealth of experience at the college and professional level.

This is Mosiello’s first Division I head coaching job, but he has coached under three hall of fame coaches. He’s been a part of conference championships in the SEC, Big 12 and Big West, with five trips to the College World Series.

Mosiello has coached or managed nearly 100 MLB players including 14 first-round draft picks, 28 MLB All-Stars and three current MLB managers.

Prior to coaching at TCU (associate head coach 2014-22) and Tennessee (2012-13), Mosiello served as the manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Double-A affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers, where he mentored MLB great Mike Trout for nearly two full seasons.

Mosiello has pretty much done and seen it all on the baseball field. It was a pleasure to talk with him over the phone about Pettorini, the Buckeyes and baseball in general.

“Tyler is a tremendous hitter and has a great understanding of putting the bat on the ball,” Mosiello said. “He still has some things to work on, like drawing more walks. The really special hitters walk more times than they strike out. We have just an average offensive club, but he’s been a breath of fresh air.”

I asked Mosiello if it’s common for a college player to make such a big jump offensively in one season.

“Great point,” Mosiello said. “It’s not super common. Usually, a guy who struggled the year before doesn’t get that many opportunities, so it’s a credit to Tyler. It’s nothing that any of us did. I think he’s been a great hitter all his career. He’s got a great feel for the barrel, and he’s made the most of his opportunities.”

Mosiello called this season humbling several times. Even talking over the phone, it was crystal clear how determined he is to guide the Buckeyes back into contention in the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournament.

“If you’d have told me before the season that we would only be 28-25 right now, even though it’s seven more wins than last year’s club, I would have told you you’re crazy,” Mosiello said. “We’re shooting to win a national championship, get Big Ten championships.

“Now the humbleness for me is just to stick with the process, keep trying to get better daily and continue to get great players in this program. We’re trying to change the standards and the culture and get it back to the 1990s when they had such a great culture and were winning big 10 championships.”

Mike Trout connection

Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout is one of the greatest players I’ve ever watched.

Trout is only 31 but is already a 10-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP. He’s also finished second in the MVP voting four times.

Knowing Mosiello coached Trout in the minors, since I had him on the phone, I had to ask what that experience was like. Did he see greatness right away?

“I got to coach Trout for parts of three Minor League seasons before he got called up from my Double-A club to the Angels,” Mosiello said. “He was the rookie league batting champion, and they called him up to my Ceder Rapids A team for the last few games, and he just played average. He had just turned 18, and I already had my older guys, and I didn’t even play him in center field.

“My first impression wasn’t that he was a superstar, but that he was a great kid and very hard worker. It was the next year in spring training when he hit about seven home runs and then we broke camp for Cedar Rapids and he had a great year that I thought, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I told some people, ‘I didn’t see Mickey Mantle play in person, but somebody has to be the next Mantle. Why can’t it be Mike Trout? He does everything well.’ I believed then that he could become the best player in the big leagues.”

Parting shots

Wooster High hired Che Richardson as its new varsity boys basketball coach, pending school board approval. Richardson was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Canton McKinley, and played college basketball at Malone.

Richardson looks to be an excellent hire, and I wish him the best.

—It was really getting hard to watch the Cleveland Guardians scuffle on offense, usually scoring less than four runs.

Then Josh Naylor broke out with three big home runs in the eighth inning in three straight games against the Angels. The Guards won the latter two games, and some of the magic of the 2022 season seemed to return. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Naylor is the first player since 1961 to hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later in three straight games.

Here’s hoping Cleveland can keep the momentum going as it embarks on a road trip to face the White Sox and Mets.

Aaron Dorksen can be emailed at

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