DARKE COUNTY – Two athletes who helped their teams make strong runs in the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournaments are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Franklin Monroe baseball player Zach Cable and Bradford softball player Emma Canan.
Though she’s only a freshman, Canan has been a key contributor on the most successful team in Bradford softball history as the Railroaders have reached the regional finals of the OHSAA tournament.
In the district finals and regional semifinals, Canan came up big as she went 3-for-6 at the plate in the two games. In a 2-1 district championship victory against Cincinnati Christian, Canan scored both of Bradford’s runs including the game-winning run in the eighth inning.
As the Railroaders’ second baseman, Canan made one of the defensive plays of the game in the regional semifinal victory against Mechanicsburg.
“Emma has been the most consistent defender this year,” Bradford softball coach Shon Schaffer said. “When the ball gets hit her way, she makes the play.”
Canan also has been a solid contributor on offense. This season she has a .400 batting average with five doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs and 23 runs scored. She’s swiped 24 bases on 26 attempts to lead the Railroaders in stolen bases.
“Like others on the team, Emma has played a lot of ball in the summer,” Schaffer said, “and it shows to be able to come in here as a freshman and excel the way she has.”
As a senior, Cable helped lead the Franklin Monroe baseball team to its first sectional championship in 10 years. The Jets finished the season with a 13-10 record and were district runners-up.
As a four-year starter, Cable has been a vital part of FM’s resurgence from a 3-19 record his freshman season.
“He’s been the backbone of this team for the last four years,” Franklin Monroe baseball coach Eddie Meyers said. “He’s going to be one tough void to fill, and he’s going to be missed.”
Cable is one of the best defensive catchers around, Meyers said, which allowed him to gain a starting spot on the varsity team as a freshman. He has an incredibly strong arm and works extremely well with the Jet pitching staff.
“It’s great,” Meyers said. “There’s times when I don’t even need to say anything to him. He’ll call time, walk out there and start working with them.”
Cable was in the lineup his freshman and sophomore seasons purely for his defense, but he worked on his offense and as an upperclassman became on the Jets’ best hitters. This season he was second on the team with a .435 batting average and recorded six doubles, three triples, a home run and 17 RBIs.
“His offense has been great,” Meyers said.
Cable constantly was seeking guidance on how to improve as a hitter and would hit balls off a tee all the time. His dedication paid off as he only struck out five times.
“He worked and worked and worked his tail off to try to get better,” Meyers said.
During practice the Franklin Monroe coaches never had to tell Cable what to do, Meyers said. He would go straight to work and led the team with his example.
“He’s our silent assassin,” Meyers said. “He doesn’t say much, but when he does it’s like gold.”
Even when he was worn out, Cable always kept grinding.
“There were games this year he was gassed, dog tired, and there’s no way you’re taking him out of that game,” Meyers said.
Cable earned first team honors from the Cross County Conference and Miami Valley Baseball Coaches Association. He also was selected for the Mizuno All-Star Series at Ohio State, one of just three Division IV players from Southwest Ohio to earn the honor.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4312. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.