Ava Dettwiller
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Derrick Webb

Derrick is SOSA's chief content coordinator and has worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, the Portsmouth Daily Times and Eleven Warriors. He's a 13-time award-winning journalist, a self-proclaimed baseball purist, a suffering Bengals fan and has never met a stranger.

Unioto’s Ava Dettwiller selected as SOSA’s Horizon Athlete of the Month

Dettwiller helped her Shermans make the school's first-ever regional final appearance.

Derrick Webb, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

CHILLICOTHE — One through nine, Unioto’s lineup this past spring was power-packed.

Unioto’s Ava Dettwiller is SOSA’s Horizon Athlete of the Month after helping her Shermans win a district championship.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

The Shermans, as a team, were flat-out special, and have been argued to be the best in the program’s lengthy history. Their 24-4 record included sectional and district championships alongside the first-ever regional final appearance.

Next season? They bring back every single starter.

Included in that group will be senior Ava Dettwiller, who is no stranger to hitting in clutch situations.

Dettwiller shined all year long at her first base position, proving — once again — to be one of the area’s best defenders. And at the plate, she was feared because of her ability to make pitchers pay.

She’s been selected as SOSA’s Horizon Athlete of the Month after helping Unioto make history.

“It was very special knowing that this group of girls started playing together in 8U [in the Scioto Valley Youth League],” Dettwiller said. “We’ve been playing together as a team for a long time now. I know this group has been special and it was exciting watching our years of experience together pay off.”

Dettwiller was just one of a slew of hitters that produced at every turn.

The Shermans’ ability to be effective from top to bottom helped each hitter in regards to pressure. If one had an off night, the other would pick up the slack. According to Dettwiller, it’s created at-bats that are void of anxiety.

“While playing in our high-powered offense, I’ve spent most of my time working on not just hitting the ball backside, but driving the ball backside with power. It’s fun because there is no pressure on any of us girls individually to carry the team,” Dettwiller said. “I can relax at the plate and free-swing, knowing that if I have a bad at-bat, any of the other girls are going to produce.”

When the bat is in her hands, there’s no doubt that Dettwiller is dangerous. But she may be even better with her glove — which is quite the statement.

Time and time again, she made highlight-reel plays at first base, saving outs and helping to mow down the opposing lineup. 

But first base hasn’t always been her spot. In fact, it never was until she reached the varsity level. Now, after hours and hours of work, she couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else.

“As an incoming freshman, I was primarily at catcher or third base. But with the upperclassmen in the lineup already, I needed to find a spot for myself to break into the lineup,” Dettwiller said. “Looking at available spots on the field, I felt my best chance to be in the lineup as a freshman was to transition to first base. With a lot of work, and using my catching-receiving skill, setting the basic fundamentals of first base came naturally. To further my ability, I spent countless hours learning to stretch, scoop, and backhand. All this hard work has helped me become an elite first baseman.”

Dettwiller — alongside a slew of teammates — is back in the fold next spring.

The Shermans, rightfully so, have their sights set on Akron and the OHSAA State Tournament. It’s not a hope. It’s an expectation.

“My expectations are to win the SVC, the Gold Ball and to advance to Firestone Stadium where we will challenge ourselves to earn a state title,” Dettwiller said. “We are fortunate as a team that all of our returning roster members are playing high-level travel competition schedules that will only help us develop and compete at a higher level next season.”


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