Mike Ohlman’s first season of professional baseball couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with his assignment to Baltimore’s Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, Md.
The Lakewood Ranch High graduate is the youngest player on the roster for Delmarva, which plays in the low Single-A South Atlantic League. It’s unusual for someone just out of high school with virtually no professional experience to get that kind of assignment.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder made quite an impression on the Orioles organization since signing his contract Aug. 17 and stood out in instructional and extended league games against other minor leaguers.
“I am real happy to be here. This is what I was hoping for,” Ohlman said. “This level is higher than most kids out of high school get, but the people in the organization told me they felt I was ready. They are not concerned about my age and lack of professional experience.”
Ohlman was told he would share the catching duties with Justin Dalles (6-2, 205), selected in the sixth round of the First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina in 2009.
Ohlman is the only 19-year-old position player on the Shorebirds roster. There are four others who have not turned 20 yet, and they are all pitchers.
Ohlman hit an RBI sacrifice fly in his first game, helping Delmarva to its first win of the season, a 4-2 triumph over Greenville on Friday.
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Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Lastings Milledge isn’t the only player off Lakewood Ranch’s 2003 state baseball championship team still playing.
Infielder Larry Cobb, who starred at Ranch and MCC, has signed with the Joliet (Ill.) Jackhammers of the independent Northern League.
He was originally selected by Oakland in the 27th round of the ’06 draft. He is expected to play the outfield for Joliet, which is about 40 miles outside of Chicago.
The 5-8, 180-pounder was playing for Single-A Stockton (Calif.) in the Athletics system last year when he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for amphetamines, according to MLB.com and other reports. He had also played briefly for Triple-A Sacramento.
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Brent Solich, who will always be remember for his pitching heroics in Lakewood Ranch Ranch’s state tournament appearance, will be on the mound for the independent League Windy City Thunderbolts (Ill.) this season.
The lefty played Independent League ball last year for Pensacola and then the River City Rascals, who play in the Frontier League along with the Thunderbolts. He played in 19 games for River City and compiled a 1.25 ERA with a 1-1 record and one save. Solich was drafted in the 43rd round by the Los Angeles Angels in ’05.
Solich pitched a two-hit shutout in Ranch’s state semifinal and got the save in the title game, going 1 2/3 innings without allowing a hit in a 7-6 victory.
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Ryan Kennedy, starting shortstop on that ’03 Ranch squad and starting second baseman for two University of Tampa Division II national championship teams, is in his third year as an assistant coach for the Spartans.
He was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 19th round of the ’07 draft and played one year in the organization. He played two years for Tampa after one season with MCC in ’05.
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Palmetto’s Kincaid Schmidt was selected to receive the President’s Award at Flagler College. A three-year starter for the Saints women’s soccer team, the defensive standout showed her courageousness in a successful collegiate career despite many obstacles.
She was injured in her first game as a freshman and missed the entire season but came back and played in 45 matches with 39 starts over the rest of her career.
A communications major, Schmidt has a cumulative 3.4 GPA and served two years on the student-athlete advisory committee.
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Bradenton Christian grad David Cotrone has been named the Male Athlete of The Year at Flagler College for his prowess on the tennis courts. The junior is ranked fourth in NCAA Division II and is part of the Saints’ ninth-ranked doubles team. He is 16-3 overall and 4-3 against nationally ranked opponents.
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Lakewood Ranch grad Cody Hughes finished his career at Western Kentucky, but the offensive lineman will stay on as a graduate assistant coach.
He will join the Hilltoppers new staff that includes head coach Willie Taggart (former Manatee High QB great) and Ray Woodie, former head football coach at Palmetto High.
Alan Dell, sports writer, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2112.