Three teams claimed a share of the 2015 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division baseball championship with identical 10-2 records, and a preseason poll indicates the Marauders and Spartans are favored to repeat. Meanwhile, the Lady Spartans were selected as a unanimous favorite to repeat as TVC Ohio softball champs.
A panel of seven sports writers that cover the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division voted in the preseason poll that was conducted by the Ohio Valley Publishing sports department
The Alexander and Meigs baseball teams each finished with a total of 45 points in the poll, while fellow 2015 co-champ Athens came in third with 36.
The Marauders — who lost four seniors from last year’s district championship squad — finished 2015 with a 17-10 overall record. The Spartans — who fell to Wheelersburg in the 2015 regional final — went 25-5 in 2015. AHS and MHS split their regular season series in 2015, with each team winning on the road. Alexander and Meigs combined for all seven first place votes, with the Spartans holding a 4-3 edge.
The Bulldogs were 18-9 last spring and split with both Meigs and Alexander. The Bulldogs, Spartans and Marauders have finished in the top three in the league for five consecutive seasons, with Wellston tying for Athens for third in 2014.
The Golden Rockets claimed fourth in the poll with a total of 25, while Nelsonville-York came in fifth with 20. WHS and NYHS tied for fourth in the TVC Ohio a year ago, both marking 5-7 league records.
River Valley — which won its first-ever sectional title and finished sixth in the seven-team league last season — earned 14 points in the poll and claimed sixth. VCHS failed to win a league game last year and was voted seventh in the poll with 11 points.
A total of 20 of the 32 TVC Ohio baseball first team selections from last year were underclassmen, including at least one from each school.
The Alexander softball team — which went undefeated in its 12 league tilts last year — received all seven first place votes and led the field with a total of 49 points.
Wellston — which fell short in its quest for a third straight league title in 2015 — finished second in the poll with a total of 38. The Lady Rockets went 8-4 in the league last spring with two losses to Meigs and two losses to Alexander.
The Lady Marauders were third in the poll with a total of 37 points. Last season, MHS went 10-2 in the seven-team league and made it to the district final under first-year head coach Bryan Swann.
Athens — which was fourth in the TVC Ohio last season with a 5-7 league record — finished fourth in the poll with a total of 25. River Valley went 3-9 in league last season, claiming sixth, but the Lady Raiders were voted to finish fifth this year after claiming 19 points.
Vinton County was fifth in 2015 with a 4-8 league record, and received 17 points in the poll, placing the Lady Vikings sixth. Nelsonville-York — which failed to win a league game last year — finished seventh in the poll with 11 points.
Only 10 of the 27 TVC Ohio softball first teamers from last season were seniors, with each team having at least one underclassman on the team.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.