Mike Rapp has returned to coaching varsity fast pitch softball. And Milford head fast pitch softball coach Christy Hensley is very happy.
“I went to a coaches clinic recently and some of the other coaches there had heard Mike was going to be coaching with me. When everybody had found out about it I was congratulated by everybody for having him coaching with me,” said Hensley.
Rapp, a 1974 graduate of Amelia High School, is an Ohio fast pitch softball coaching legend. He began the fast pitch program at his alma mater for the 1979 season. Just one year later he led the Barons to the Class AAA Ohio Final Four and the Blue and White earned second place. He led Amelia to two more appearances to the state tournament in Ashland, Ohio, in 1986 and 1994.
In addition to the three state championship tournaments, in his 24 years at the barony he guided the Barons to five district championships and numerous conference titles. His charges earned Amelia its first Fort Ancient Valley Conference championship in any sport in 2001. His career record at the barony was a very impressive 356-146 (.709 winning percentage).
A total of 23 of his Baronesses have played fast pitch softball on the collegiate level.
Rapp pointed out one of his coaching highlights was four of his former Amelians played softball at the same college at the same time. His daughter Crissy, pitched, the Combs sisters, Tracy, a catcher, and Toni, a pitcher, and second baseman Stephanie Monday were members of the same Georgetown (Ky.) College Tigers fast pitch team. Both Crissy Rapp and Monday and many other former Amelia standouts have gone on to coach on the high school and/or collegiate level. Some have even become college athletic directors.
Rapp began his career at Amelia High School as a member of the faculty in the field of business and marketing. He later became the athletic director at Amelia for several years before transferring to become athletic director and a school administrator at Loveland High School. Last year he resigned as the Tigers' athletic director and today he has returned to teaching, this time at Loveland High School.
"I'm enjoying coaching again. The players are very dedicated and they are working hard," said Rapp who himself is a superior athlete. He has won numerous powerlifting and bodybuilding championships and in high school he starred in football, basketball, and track and field.
"The players at Milford are very supportive of each other. They are very close. The whole atmosphere with the softball here is very family-like. They even had a surprise birthday party for me and I was definitely surprised.
"I'm looking forward to having a good season. My responsibilities with the team are coaching the pitchers and the infielders and I will be the first base coach when we're at bat. Right now I have six pitchers I'm working with.
"I'm really enjoying all of this. This is a great opportunity and a great place to be. I'm very appreciative to coach Hensley and (Milford High School athletic director) Mark Trout for this opportunity."
He laughed when he mentioned that the E-Gals will have preseason scrimmages against both Amelia and Loveland.
"We're very excited about coach Rapp joining our coaching staff. He will add a great dimension to our coaching staff and his knowledge of the game will be a great help to our young ladies and the success of our softball program," said Trout.
"I can't fully explain how excited and happy I am to have coach Rapp on our softball staff. His knowledge of pitching and the whole game is incredible. We are very fortunate to have him as a member of our program," said Hensley.
Following is the Milford varsity fast pitch softball schedule: Mar. 26 at Middletown, Mar. 28 at Sycamore, Mar. 30 Fairfield, Mar. 31 at Kings (doubleheader), Apr. 2 at Lakota East, Apr. 3 at Princeton, Apr. 4 Oak Hills, Apr. 5 at Lakota West, Apr. 6 Lakota East, Apr. 9 Princeton, Apr. 11 at Colerain, Apr. 13 at Hamilton, Apr. 14 Glen Este, Apr. 16 Middletown, Apr. 18 Sycamore, Apr. 19 at Fairfield, Apr. 20 at Stellar Classic (at Ohio State University), Apr. 23 at Oak Hills, Apr. 25 Lakota West, Apr. 26 Loveland, Apr. 27 & 28 at Western Brown Tournament, Apr. 30 Colerain, May 2 Hamilton, and May 3 New Richmond.