GALION — The Galion Graders, under the leadership of new coach Neil Schaffner, stormed out of the gates with five wins to start their fourth season. They finally lost, on June 15, to Xenia.
From there, it was a season filled with lots of highs and lots of lows.
In their next six contests, the Graders went 3-3 to move their record to 8-4 overall, and a playoff berth seemed within reach. On June 24, Galion traveled to Lima and did something that they had one done in three previous three seasons. They beat the locals. However, that victory was the beginning of a downward spiral for the hometown Graders as they lost their next seven games to fall to 9-11 overall on the year. But they warmed up again and improved 16-14 at the all-star break, and were still in contention for the final playoff spot in the Southern Division of the GLSCL.
But the end of the season brought more losses than wins, including five in a row, before the Graders ended the year with a 13-4 win over the Lake Erie Monarchs. They finished 2.5 games out of the playoffs.
“Divisions change, as does the format. but trying to be consistent is the goal,” Schaffner said. “It’s a nice testament to the guys on this team and what we accomplished this season. The consistent work ethic and the sharing of information — how they tried to constantly help each other out — showed the true greatness within this group of young men. I think that they represented Galion well, and I was just happy to be around through this part of their careers. If they’ve learned some things through baseball and any other aspect of their lives, then I’ve done my job.”
Jacob Reimold named MVP
Jacob Reimold had a summer to write home about. Spending most of his season manning third base, Reimold took charge when he stepped into the right side of the plate.
He finished the season second in batting average behind Southern Ohio’s third baseman Crim (.397) in the GLSCL, batting at a .392 clip. Jacob ripped nine home runs and tied for second in the league with James Roche of the Muskegon Clippers and behind Griffin Doersching of the Joes (12HR).
Other statistics in 2018 for the MVP of the Graders were: 34 games played, 49 hits in 125 at bats, .392 batting average, .696 slugging percentage (best in the league), .455 on-base percentage, 1.151 OPS (also tops in the league), 34 runs scored; 9-2B, 9-HR, 1-3B, 30 runs batted in, 6 stolen bases, 9BB and 16K.
Reimold is from Greenville, Pennsylvania and is heading into his junior year of his collegiate career at St. Leo down in Florida. He is 6-foot, 2-inches tall, weighs in at 215 pounds and was recently named to the Honorable Mention All-League team for the GLSCL.
“I made a bet with a friend of mine that I got to shave his beard if I hit for the cycle in the final game,” jokes Reimold after the Graders final game of the season in which he went 4/4 at the dish with two singles, a double and a triple; missing a cycle by just a home run. “It’s a little sad that it’s all over because you get to become good friends with these guys, they become your ‘boys’ and you share knowledge and grow alongside them. I turned it on in the last half of the season, but it was definitely more mental than anything. At this point, we’re all good enough. We have the swings, the abilities, it just comes down to having the right mindset every day when you’re on or off the diamond.”
As for a return back to Galion for another summer with the Graders?
“Honestly, I don’t know yet,” Reimold said. “I’m transferring down to a school in Florida next year for school and there may be some opportunities that open up down there. It’s pretty early to say where I could be next year and that is the fun part. I loved it here in Galion and we were all well taken care of, so, we’ll see.”
Other All-League nominations
Mac Spears: Galion native and sophomore at Heidelberg Mac Spears earned a second-team nod in his role as the closer for the Graders. Mac finished the summer with a 3-0 record to go along with four saves and an earned run average of 2.96.
Vince Donato: An incoming freshman headed to Youngstown State University, Donato split his time this summer between playing first base and knocking baseballs around as the designated hitter. Vince got an honorable mention nod at first base while batting .296 at the dish.
Final regular season standings in the GLSCL
St. Clair Green Giants: 26-16; finished 1st by owning tiebreaker over the Lima Locos
Lima Locos: 26-16; hosted the Saginaw Sugar Beets in the play-in game on Tuesday, July 31
Saginaw Sugar Beets: 24-16; 1 game back of 1st, clinched 3rd and final playoff spot
Muskegon Clippers: 24-18; finished 2 games back of 1st place St. Clair
Irish Hills Leprechauns: 19-22; finished 6.5 games back
Lake Erie Monarchs: 17-23; finished 8 games back
Grand Lake Mariners: 17-24; finished 8.5 games back
Southern Ohio Copperheads: 30-10; finished 1st and will face winner of play-in game in a best-of-three series
Cincinnati Steam: 30-12; finished 1 game back, hosted the Hamilton Joes in the play-in game on Tuesday, July 31
Hamilton Joes: 22-20; 9 games back of first, clinched 3rd and final playoff spot
GALION GRADERS: 19-22; 11.5 games back of 1st, missed final spot by 2.5 games to Hamilton
Richmond Jazz: 16-26; finished 15 games back
Xenia Scouts: 10-32; finished 21 games back, lost 15 of final 16 games
Licking County Settlers: 9-32; finished 21.5 games back, lost 12 of final 16 games
Jacob Reimold was constantly coming up big at the dish for the Galion Graders in 2018. Reimold crushed nine home runs to lead the team this summer and lead all of the GLSCL in slugging percentage and OPS. I have named Jacob my pick for Most Valuable Player for the Graders for his work at the plate and at third base for the hometown squad this season.
Head coach Neil Schaffner addresses the 2018 edition of the Galion Graders following their final game of the season on Sunday, July 29. With the 13-4 victory Sunday over the Lake Erie Monarchs, Galion finished with a 19-22 mark to tie last season’s output for the best record in the franchise’s four year history.