N.W.O. Longhorns win state 9-year-old title

The ultimate goal of the N.W.O. Longhorns is for the players to become good high school baseball players.

But along the way, the Longhorns are enjoying plenty of success as a team.
They won state championship in the 9-year-old division of Nations Baseball.
Nine of the Longhorns’ 12 players live in Wood County, including six from the Eastwood school district.

The rest of the team consists of two players each from Otsego and Toledo, and one each from Lake and
The Longhorns play their home games at Basic Park in Luckey.
"Winning state was great for the kids, but we want them to be good high school baseball players.
That’s the end goal," said head coach Gary Haas, a former head coach at Eastwood High School.
"Our philosophy has never changed from the get-go."
The Longhorns are in their second season.
Last season as 8-year-olds, the players had the best of both worlds – they played in T-ball and
coach-pitch tournaments against other 8-year-olds, and they played in the 9-year-old-division of the
Northwest Ohio Amateur Baseball League.
Because of the team’s talent and excellent coaching, the Longhorns still competed on even terms with the
older teams in the NWOABL playing regualr baseball rules.
"We want them to keep working and make themselves better," Haas said. "That doesn’t change
from year to year.
"We want them to keep working and make themselves better, and that’s what they’re going to have to
do to compete the farther along we go. You can see that in our guys, compared to where we were in
The Longhorns have steadily improved since the start of last season and made a big jump in their level of
play this season. The team is 41-4 overall and won the NWOABL championship in their age division with a
17-1 record.
The team is fundamentally sound as its pitchers throw strikes, the defense makes good plays, and the
hitters put the bat on the ball and run the bases aggressively.
"We’re definitely better than we were last year and that comes with age," Haas said.
"We’ve made some steps over last year. We saw some teams at the state tournament that we played
last year who have taken a step back. The big key is they need to continue to improve and work on their
"We don’t have the big goon hitter or the big dominant pitcher, but we have a lot of good players
and all of them are contributing to the team."
Haas said the team most likely will add games against teams from the Columbus area next season in
addition to playing in the NWOABL’s 10-year-old division.
"We need to play those guys on a regular basis," Haas said. "Our league is very good and
very competitive, but so is the central Ohio league and that’s how our guys are going to get better,
continually playing against better competition."
In addition to the state championship, the Longhorns have won tournaments in Oregon, Perrysburg and
Sylvania, and were second in a tournament in Bowling Green.
The state title gave the Longhorns a berth in one of three World Series later this summer.
"Did I think we’d have this much success? Probably not," Haas said. "I knew we had a good
core of players who would play hard and play the game the way they’ve been taught. But for the way
they’ve responded, they’ve exceeded my expectations."
The team’s players are Logan Frobose, Eli Johnson, Noah Johnson, Cade Boos, Jake Plantz, Tyler Schmeltz,
Will Varner, Tyler Haas, Luke Beach, Grant Hirzel, Jake Pickerel and Jase Bowen.
The other coaches are Ryan Bowen, Gary Haas Sr. and Loren Boos.
The Longhorns won their state title with an 8-3 win over the Mansfield Mud Hens, who beat the Longhorns
in the 8-year-old state championship game last year.
The Longhorns were 8-7 winners over Dublin in the semifinals after going 3-1 in pool play to advance.
In pool play, the Longhorns beat Union Post (11-3), the Columbus Cobras (18-12) and Hilliard (16-5), and
lost to Dublin (16-9).
"When we looked at the teams in the tournament, we knew there were good teams," Haas said.
"I’ve told the kids all year long if we throw strikes, make the plays defensively and swing the
bats, we’re a very difficult team to beat.
"Going down there to state, in the back of my mind, I knew if we did all three of those things, we’d
be tough to beat. For the most part, that’s how we played in the tournament."
The N.W.O. Longhorns won the Nations Baseball U-9 Open State Championship. Pictured are (front left):
Logan Frobose, Eli Johnson, Noah Johnson, Cade Boos, Jake Plantz and Tyler Schmeltz. In the middle row
are: Will Varner, Tyler Haas, Luke Beach, Grant Hirzel, Jake Pickerel and Jase Bowen. In the back are
coaches: Ryan Bowen, Gary Haas Sr., Gary Haas and Loren Boos.