Grizzled Young Veterans: DeBord and Hoisington add their legacy to Summit County baseball

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Stow-Munroe Falls coach Aaron DeBord coaches at third base during the Bulldogs' 7-2 loss at Nordonia Monday.

MACEDONIA — Drew Hoisington and Aaron DeBord have lived similar lives through the prism of Summit County baseball.

Both got their starts under the guidance of two pillars of local high school baseball.

Playing under long-time Walsh Jesuit coach Chris Kaczmar, Hoisington helped the Warriors win the 2004 Division II state title, as he graduated from Walsh that same spring.

He went on to great career at the University of Toledo, where he graduated in 2009 with  school records for total bases (393), doubles (53), walks (111) and runs (180).

While DeBord did not claim a state title, the 2005 Woodridge graduate helped lay the foundation for the Bulldogs becoming a small school power under the tutelage of coach Dennis Dever.

DeBord attended the University of Akron and stayed close to the game through the Ohio Longhorns travel program.

A decade and a half later, the two coaches may still be young by some standards, but their tenures at Stow and Nordonia have helped them carve out their own niches in Summit County.

DeBord made it clear he thinks he's not quite in the class of Dever or Kaczmar, who are still going strong at their respective programs.

"Just talking about them in relations to us is an honor," DeBord said. "We talk to each other and we want to be playing each other for a long time."

Hosington landed at Nordonia in 2013 after a two-year stint in charge of Trinity High School. Now a history teacher at NHS, Hoisington said earlier this season he plans to be with Knights "until they get sick of me."

Nordonia knows the value of a good baseball coach; NHS principal Casey Wright was a head coach at Maple Heights.

"I enjoy what happens when you form relationships with the kids and you're able to see them grow," Hoisington said. "We've seen that a lot this year."

DeBord is no stranger to Nordonia, either. He served as an assistant coach for the Knights before his first head coaching job at Akron Firestone.

DeBord took control of the Bulldogs' program in 2015.

While he does not work in education, DeBord's Stow roots run deep, as he is an administrato at the Stow Municipal Court.

Nordonia catcher Louis Hover sprints home during the Knights' 7-2 home win over Stow-Munroe Falls

Baseball and family seem intertwined for the two young coaches.

For starters, both coach set the tone for younger brothers' success in their respective high school programs.

Taylor Hoisington won a state title with Walsh Jesuit in 2006, while Mike DeBord was the catcher on Woodridge's 2008 regional final squad.

Taylor Hoisington joined Drew as Nordonia's assistant coach for the first years of his tenure, while coach DeBord said he would love to have Mike join the Bulldogs' staff — something Mike noted he would love to do someday.

Hoisington noted one fun aspect was seeing both his and DeBord's kids run the basses after games. Both families were in attendance when Stow traveled to Nordonia Monday.

It may have been a bad omen for Stow, however, that Mike DeBord showed up for Monday's game in a Knights' ball cap. To be fair, Mike DeBord now lives in the Nordonia district and his wife, Katie, teaches at Northfield Elementary School.

"I was joking with Drew before the game," Aaron DeBord said. "It seems like every time they come to our place, we blow them out, but every time we come up here, it's a good game."

"I think the last three games, they've beaten us 37-0 at Stow," Hoisington said. "Then, the come back here and we get 'em. We can't get runs there and they can't get runs here."

The trend continued.

After getting smoked 12-0 by the Bulldogs April 22 at Stow, Nordonia put up six unanswered runs Monday to score a 7-2 win. It was the Knights' first victory in the Suburban League National Conference. (1-6).

The hero for the Knights was senior pitcher Brad Buddenhagen (1-0), who pitched a complete game in a bit of a spot starter role. He allowed two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts.

"Coach told me Saturday that I was starting," Buddenhagen said. "We played six games last week, so he told me to be ready. I felt like my fastball was really working today. We needed the win and we got."

Hoisington noted Buddenhagen's performance might warrant giving more time in the starting rotation.

"Last week against Hudson, he pitched about five innings," Hosington said. "We told him to be ready and, man, did he step up today."

Stow starter Chase Brooker left the game with a 2-1 lead after three innings, but was on a strict 60-pitch count. Bulldogs pitching only gave up four hits, but eight walks, a hit batsman and two errors undid Stow.

"We gave up 11 free bases today," DeBord said. "That was the game right there."

Dom Perrine gave the Knights' a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second, but Stow tied it in the third with an RBI single from Aidan Vober.

In the top of the fourth, Stow took took a 2-1 lead when catcher Riley Cesnak walked and designated hitter Jake Holmes doubled.

Cesnak scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Sackett, though Sackett was robbed off a hit and a brilliant diving catch from Nordonia's Andrew Lastovka.

The game turned in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, a throwing error allowed two Knights to score, followed by an RBI single from Logan Shaffer to make it 4-1 Knights.

In the fifth inning, a bases-loaded walk from Perrine and a two-run single from shortstop Rocco Covelli gave Nordonia breathing room.