Hiland’s Yoder carries on the family baseball success

Hiland’s Yoder carries on the family baseball success
Dave Mast

While he may have big shoes to fill, Hiland senior Brady Yoder has seamlessly slid into the shortstop role for the Hawks this season, taking over for his brother Nolan, who was OHSAA Division IV's 2023 Player of the Year at that spot last season.


Hiland baseball star Brady Yoder has had some big shoes to fill for the Hiland Hawks in 2024.

Thus far he’s doing it extremely well.

Yoder moved from third base in 2023, where he posted one of the finest defensive seasons in school history last year, to manning shortstop this season to take over the hole his brother Nolan Yoder left when the graduating senior won Division IV Player of the Year honors and helped Hiland to a 30-1 record and the OHSAA state championship last season.

If there was any pressure of following in the footsteps of his POY brother, Yoder hasn’t flinched because of it. He is fashioning another outstanding campaign and has helped the Hawks continue what has become one of the strongest small-school programs in the state.

To date the younger Yoder has been excellent in the field, at the plate and on the mound in six relief appearances for the 17-5 Hawks, whose losses have mostly come at the hands of some big-time state powers this season.

Yoder is a big reason for that.

“Some other players might have had their brother’s great success at the same position get to them, but not Brady,” Hiland head coach Chris Dages said about one of his eight seniors on the team. “Brady is a cool and calm type of guy for us. No moment overwhelms him.”

Hiland fans got a great glimpse of how well Brady played in 2023, where he manned the hot corner at third base. In the most pressure-packed game of the season, he collected two singles and was a key hitter and runner in Hiland’s 14-4 triumph over Russia in the state title game.

This season Brady is batting .387, second on the team, and he leads the squad with a .951 slugging percentage. He’s also second on the team in hits (24) and RBIs (18) and 4-for-4 in stolen bases as well. He’s always in the middle of the action on offense. For example, he lashed a single and double and scored a run in Hiland’s 3-0 Senior Day victory over Indian Valley on Monday, May 6.

He’s also pitched in four games, notching nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings with a spotless 0.00 earned run average, having slid into the closer role for Dages. At shortstop Yoder has demonstrated excellent range and helped turn seven double plays for the Hawks.

“I’ve been playing baseball for most of my life, since Tee-ball at age 5,” Yoder said. “We definitely had some loose ends at the beginning of the season. (We’ve) tightened some things up. We need to improve our baserunning, but we’re working out and doing well.”

Yoder credits his dad Jerry with teaching him and his brother Nolan the game. He also praises the hard work of his teammates but sees room for Hiland to improve.

“We need to put the ball in play harder,” Yoder said. “We tend to get under the ball (pop-ups) some. We need to sharpen up and fine tune everything.”

Yoder’s work ethic, leadership and talent will certainly go a long way in helping to make sure he and his teammates do that before what they hope will be a lengthy tournament run as they defend the Div. IV state title.

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