Tonawanda News — Tonawanda’s Ben Stich didn’t take over at shortstop for just any player this season, the junior basketball standout was replacing the News’ 2012 baseball Player of the Year Dave Battel and his .413 average.
Not to be outdone, Stich has posted a .435 batting average on the season — just three points behind senior Jared Zellner — both of which are two of the best single-season performances in Warriors’ history.
Stich has taken over as one of the Warriors’ top leaders and has helped lead Tonawanda to its second straight ECIC IV regular season championship. It’s only the third time in program history the Warriors won back to back titles and the first time in over 30 years.
The Warriors host East Aurora today at 5 p.m. at Veteran’s Park in the semifinals of the B1 sectional playoffs, and John Frank believes his team has the perfect player leading the way, especially when it matters most.
”He’s a hustle guy and very verbal and vocal with the team as far as leadership goes,” Frank said. “He has great attributes at the plate and in the field. He has great baseball knowledge for the game.”
Frank has watched Stich grow up, serving as either his baseball coach or teacher for the past 11 years. He said it’s been fun to watch Stich develop into a terrific ballplayer and an even better person.
On top of his contributions at the dish and at short, Stich has emerged as the No. 2 pitcher for the Warriors this season. He has a 4-1 record in 30.1 innings pitched, which is the second-most on the team. He has a 2.08 ERA and 38 strike outs; in the field he’s only committed two errors all season.
Stich is a stat guy, always has been. He has a little competition going with Zellner to see who will have the top batting average at the end of the season.