Whiteoak baseball head coach Chris Veidt is pictured. (Submitted photo)
Whiteoak baseball head coach Chris Veidt is pictured. (Submitted photo)

Following a season where his Whiteoak Wildcats played in the Division IV State Semifinals, Whiteoak baseball head coach Chris Veidt was recently selected as the 2018 National High School Baseball Coaches Association Region 4 Coach of the Year.

The award is for a region which includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Veidt has been the baseball head coach at Whiteoak for the past 27 seasons, as he has earned 373 career wins.  

This past season, Whiteoak had their best season in program history with a 28-3 overall record, winning their first regional championship and along the way winning Southern Hills Athletic Conference, sectional and district titles.

As for winning the award, Veidt spoke about the honor and said it was a “huge surprise.”

“This was a huge surprise,” Veidt told The Highland County Press. “It was a surprise because of the national brand of the organization and the fact that it included six states. The state tournament run was the most memorable event of my 27 years.

“Honestly, we’ve had teams with the same potential (including this upcoming year), but with last year, things just fell into place physically, mentally, socially with game events and circumstances.”

Veidt looked back at the state tournament path as the historical season included some big wins. This past postseason, the Wildcats won the sectional championship by a 10-0 score over Peebles. From there, in the district round, they won by a 12-3 score over Belpre and 10-0 over Waterford to clinch the district championship.

The Wildcats in the regional semifinals defeated Toronto by a 4-3 score, then took down Eastern Meigs, 5-4 in the regional finals.

“It was a group that quite honestly struggled in the early going, but bought in to our culture and obviously had a high physical ceiling,” Veidt said. “The biggest thing to me in terms of what comes with such success is the community and school pride, and the kids realizing that when you think right and work, good things happen.

“I believe that there are high school players everywhere that mention and think of winning a state championship as the ultimate goal, but ultimately, subconsciously, don’t believe it can happen. Our kids ‘trusted the process,’ and it almost happened. As far as the future is concerned, it can happen.

“In terms of what the award means, it means I coach at a great high school with unbelievable community (boosters) support. I am blessed with a very supportive school administration and board. I have the best assistant coaches anywhere. Coach (D.J.) O’Cull and Coach (John) Combs, ironically two Whiteoak alums, ‘get it.’

“Most importantly, because of the aforementioned, I have tough, smart, hardworking kids that believe in themselves and are appreciative of all they’ve been afforded here in southern Highland County.”

During their record-setting season, Whiteoak was named the Division IV OHSBCA State Poll champion.