By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
It's quite the juggling act, but Sonny Tilden seems more than up to the task.
Already a successful head coach of the school's girls basketball team, Tilden is set to take over Ravenna's baseball program as the season approaches.
Tilden will be taking over for longtime head coach Justin Mulhiem, who announced at the end of last season his intention to step down in favor of academic and family pursuits.
Mulheim had the Ravens' baseball team humming. After winning the program's first league title since 1987 during the 2011 season, Mulheim led the Ravens to another crown in 2012 after an 11-3 record in Portage Trail Conference Metro Division play.
Tilden is no stranger to Ravenna baseball. His coaching history goes back decades and most recently has been a varsity assistant under Mulheim and was the Ravens' freshman coach in 2004.
Tilden said he was initially excited, if not a bit cautious of the prospects of stepping into the head coach role.
"Justin and (Ravenna AD) Dave McBee asked me before last season ended if I would be interested in taking over the team," Tilden said. "I was excited, but I wasn't sure if I could juggle basketball and baseball, since they overlap."
Tilden, who is a Ravenna graduate that was a four-year starting pitcher for the Ravens, said that the process of doing two sports at the same time has already proved an interesting exercise in time management.
"Most days, I go to basketball from 2:30 through 4:30, then go throw batting practice for baseball open gym from 5 until 7 p.m.," Tilden said. "The paper work is difficult now as well with finishing stats for basketball and holding booster meetings and planning fundraisers for baseball."
Tilden said that Mulheim has helped ease the transition, acting as the president of the baseball boosters.
Also helping the transition has been assistant coach Aaron Rauber, who was last year's JV coach and has helped serve as an accessible mentor while Tilden stretched in multiple directions.
The buy-in among returning and new players on the team has been great, Tilden said, as the program is preparing to pursue a third consecutive Metro Division championship.
Returning 2012 All-Metro Division First Team selections Kyle Spellman (first base) and Tate Bennett (catcher) are expected back, as well as Second Teamer Trevin Knight (infield).
While Tilden said that the team isn't operating at full-strength yet because of basketball, he is itching to get the upcoming season under way.
"I always look forward to the start of a new season," Tilden said. "The team is buying in 100 percent and they are excited for the season. We should be very competitive with the group of seniors we have."