GALION — Kenny Fagan took over as head coach at Galion prior to the 2022 season with some experience in the Tigers’ dugout. Fagan was previously on the coaching staff and was familiar with the program. In his first season at the lead, the Tigers finished with an 8-15 record — when you look at the youth they played it is a pretty solid record.
Galion picked up a win over Shelby, a team who finished near the top of the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference. Also, the Tigers added nice wins over Wynford and Marion Harding.
“For the boys, it was probably beating Shelby. It was a big win,” explained Galion’s skipper Kenny Fagan. “Seeing those younger guys come out of their shells a little bit. Max Albert is not a kid of many words but he has a sub-one ERA most of the year
The Tigers were young this past season, but they competed. With the youth in the program, there’s a ray of sunshine coming in the future.
“I think going into it we knew we were going to be pretty young. We knew those younger guys coming up were really talented, but it might a while for them to catch on because it’s a little bit different pace of game,” Fagan spoke.
“Some things could have went better, but I think there was a lot of good things. We played a lot of young guys. We have four freshman and five sophomore who played significant innings.”
Landon Campbell, Max Albert, Braxton Prosser, Allen Carver, Hunter Miniard, Holden Hunter, Kael Longwell, and Carson Frankhouse were among the ones to see playing time early in their career. Each player had at least one thing in common, they were either freshman or sophomores.
Prosser was like a seasoned vet at times for the Tigers. He led the team at the plate with a .424 batting average and 25 hits. There are not many freshmen around who can instantly jump into a high school lineup and do those kinds of things.
“I said it a couple of times this season that not many teams have a freshman as their four-hitter,” Fagan explained. “He’s a kid that just works his tail off, he’s always in the cage, always asking for advice.”
Prosser was one of the multiple underclass athletes that were able to impress. Landon Campbell pitched the most innings for Galion, a year after getting his first bit of varsity experience.
“Just seeing growth in everyone. Seeing Landon Campbell grow on the mound and in the box. Seeing those guys come together and start to believe what I am telling them [is nice],” Fagan said with a proud tone.
The wins wouldn’t have come across if it wasn’t for the veteran leadership the team had. Brody Symsick and Hudson Miller are two baseball players that have played a lot of innings and put in the work. Both of these young men will be playing baseball at the next level thanks to that work.
“I don’t think Hudson thought he would be able to play at the next level, but finding him a place to play was great,” Fagan said about Miller, who will play baseball at Terra State Community College.
“Coming in I think everyone knew Brody had a chance to go to the next level. He has been a terror around the area for a lot of teams. Unfortunately the season didn’t go his way with an arm injury, but it felt good to see him sign to play at the next level.”
Symsick dealt with an injury to his throwing arm, which was probably good news for his opponents. The Bluffton University signee was expected to be one of the top pitchers in the area.
Sam Albert and Tanner Keinath were the other seniors on the team.
Summer baseball is just now heating up; some players will continue to get work in. The future is bright for Galion baseball thanks to the foundation that is in place. Fagan knows that building a program doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen over time.
“Slow and steady. I don’t want them to have to big of expectations. But I think a year of them seeing varsity pitching, seeing how fast the game is. Alot of our guys play on travel teams. I think we’ll have to temper the expectations a little bit, but we’re due to turn it into a pretty good year [next year].”