(6-8-21) Two teams from opposite sides of the state will meet in the OHSAA D III Baseball Final 4 in Akron on Thursday afternoon.
The two have both had scares during their runs to State, but both knew how to win in the end.
Don’t be surprised if Canton Central Catholic Coach Dan Massarelli has a bottle of tums in his back pocket. The ‘Cardiac Kids’ keep falling behind early and making late dramatic comebacks. The Crusaders were down 2-0 in the seventh inning of the district final game and 3-2 in the sixth inning of the regional semifinal game…the reward for never quitting is a D III State Final 4 appearance.
In the Regional title game the Crusaders beat South Range 6-4, despite giving up 7 walks and committing 5 errors, the championship is the eighth in school history…the last time was in 2019.
In the final win…the offense was led by Eric Baum (SS-Sr) who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and scored two runs, Brody Donley (Jr) added two hits and scored 2 runs.
It was a struggle for the Canton Central Catholic pitching staff…Christian Harris (LHP-Sr) started and pitched 4.1 innings (5 Ks and 4 BB’s) and was was charged with two runs…the first two earned runs he’s allowed this season.
The Crusaders brought in Gary Johnson (LHP-Jr) in relief of Harris who would pitch the final 2.2 innings (2 K’s and 3 BBs) to pick up the win. One of the hits he gave up was a very long home run by Ohio State signee Trey Pancake (C).
Massaelli when asked by the Canton Repository after the Regional final win over South Range and having fourth lead changes during the game said-
“Answering back… That shows some heart and some character of a team that, again, just doesn’t want to quit.”
Over recent years it has not been hard to get to the Regionals for Archbold-
Archbold Coach Dick Selgo told the Toledo Blade after the Blue Streaks won the Regional final over Liberty Union 8-3.
“Well, this has been a long time coming. It’s our fifth straight trip down here. I haven’t been able to get out of here. This team just found a way to do it. Everyone contributed. Just a tremendous opportunity for our guys and they capitalized on it.”
Archbold had a challenge in reaching the Regional final game. In the semifinal game with Edison it took 11 innings before the Blue Streaks would pick up the 3-2 win.
In that game DJ Newman took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, he would strike out 10 and gave up just two runs and two walks over eight innings. The winning run was produced by Brandon Taylor who would hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning to score the winning run.
In the Final…the Blue Streaks had some help as they took advantage of an off day for Liberty Union who had three errors, issued four walks and four batters being hit by a pitch.
Leading the way on offense for Archbold was the ‘Kiddie Corp’….
(Soph) Krayton Kern went 3 for 4 with a double, triple, 3 RBIs and scored a run.. Zane Behnfeldt (Jr) went 1 for 3 with a double and had two runs batted in.
Freshman Jayden Seiler went all seven innings in getting the win, giving up just one earned run, six hits, striking out two, no walks and one HBP.
The winner will play the winner of the other semifinal game Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy vs. Barnesville Saturday morning at 10am.
Division III State Baseball Schedule
- Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (21-8) vs. Barnesville (24-7), Thursday, 10 a.m.
- Archbold (22-11) vs. Canton Central Catholic (23-5), Thursday, 1 p.m.
- Championship Game: Saturday, 10 a.m.