Baseball Generals look to keep success rolling in 2024

Baseball Generals look to keep success rolling in 2024

Brady Bowen, left, and A.J. Likowski will be two key players for the Wooster High baseball team this spring. Both juniors have been varsity starters since their freshman year.


After the program’s first district championship in over two decades and its third straight Ohio Cardinal Conference title, Wooster’s baseball team comes into the season with a lot of momentum.

Sure, the Generals lost a handful of players from that magical postseason run a year ago, but with a mix of returning veterans and talented newcomers, the program is hoping to build on that success in 2024.

But it you ask eighth-year coach Steve Young, the team is focused more on the day-to-day goals than what it hopes is going to happen in the final month of the season.

“We’re looking forward to competing every day and trying to steadily build as we progress through a challenging schedule,” said Young, whose team went 23-5 last spring and won a district crown for the first time in 25 seasons. “It’s cliche, but we just want to get a little better every day and see where we end up in the middle-back half of May.

“The key for us is trying to cultivate the team chemistry we had last year with a lot of new faces and playing desperate every day to try and earn everything we want to accomplish.”

The Generals will try to repeat that success with a strong base of players who have been starting since their freshman years.

The junior group of Ben Winge, AJ Likowski, Sam Nielsen, Brady Bowen and Hayden Meese have been mainstays in the Wooster lineup over the last two seasons, which, combined with big-game experience, should help the program pick up where it left off.

The right-handed Bowen was one of the top pitchers in the area last season, joined by other experienced arms in Likowski, Winge, Neilsen and Meese, along with seniors Ashton Still and Jack Ritchie. Bowen, Winge and Nielsen will play on the infield when they’re not called to pitch, joined by senior Henry Wilds.

Senior Dylan Hudson returns to manage that pitching staff behind the plate while fellow 12th-grader Will Tirakis serves as a utility player for the Generals.

Experienced outfielders Likowski and Meese will provide more depth to an already talented defense.

Wooster has some talented first-year players as well in junior pitchers Kyle Oswald and Derrick Lamb and sophomore Calin Baxstrom, who will back up Hudson at catcher along with seeing time on the infield.

It’s a loaded lineup that should help the Generals keep their hold atop the rugged OCC, a league that also saw New Philadelphia advance to regionals in Division II.

“I think our league will be extremely competitive this year,” Young said. “Mt. Vernon and New Philadelphia are two top contenders with strong lineups, and both return a very strong pitching staff. Ashland has arguably the best arm in our league, and Lexington also has an arm that can beat anybody.

“I fully expect the league race to come down to the last game or two of the season, and that’s how we’ll approach it every week.”


Under the direction of first-year coach Jimmy Williams, the Generals look to improve upon a 7-18 season a year ago. And with a wealth of experience back and a roster that Williams admits has a little bit of everything, Wooster could be well on its way.

Senior Tori Pettorini (INF/OF) and junior Kennedy Russell (OF) both return from last spring and provide athleticism on both offense and defense. Senior Promise Markley (1B) and juniors Emily Boyd (C) and Ava Craemer Parker (3B) are expected to be a punch of power in the lineup.

While there are a lot of familiar faces back, Williams is pleased with how they have accepted their roles in a new system.

“We’ll be very strong up the middle defensively, and we have a great balance of speed and power in our lineup,” he said. “While we do return a lot of experience, we are asking girls to work into some new spots on the field. But we like how this group is coming together on the field.”

Senior Isabelle Fortune also is back for Wooster and is expected to see time at first base and in the outfield, along with fellow 12th-grader Maddy Bisesi and junior Kiara Hanna as utility players. The Generals also have some experience back in the circle with sophomore pitcher Ella Karger.

Sydney McAtoos is one of a handful of freshmen expected to make an impact in the lineup. She will pitch while fellow rookies McKenzie Dorris (INF) and Allie Murzin (1B/OF) also should see time. Williams said Dorris is a dynamic hitter and defensive shortstop.

“We’ll be in position to compete with any team in our league,” Williams said. “We expected to make a jump into the top half of our league in 2024.”

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