Sophomore Mason Daniels tossed a three-hitter to lead the Gahanna Lincoln High School baseball team to its first Division I regional title with an 8-1 victory over Hilliard Darby on June 1 at Dublin Coffman.
The Lions (22-9) advanced to a state semifinal at 7 p.m. June 7 at Huntington Park against fourth-ranked Toledo St. Francis or Cleveland St. Ignatius. The teams play their regional final June 2.
Daniels struck out four and walked five en route to the victory in a game that was suspended by bad weather in the fifth inning May 31 with Gahanna leading 3-1.
“How about that sophomore,” Gahanna coach Mike Shade said. “He has gone up against everyone’s No. 1 (pitcher) all year and has come through all year.
“We weren’t worried about bringing him back (the second day) because he had thrown only 55 pitches (in the first four innings and finished with 112). He didn’t have as much on his fastball (June 1), but his breaking ball and (change-up) got him through it.”
Gahanna senior shortstop Alec Tuohy had a two-run double off Darby’s Chase Longwell in the fifth, scoring senior infielder Christian Chiero and junior infielder Evan White to break a 1-all tie. The Lions had the bases loaded with no outs when the game was suspended.
When play resumed, senior outfielder Peyton Ross brought home senior designated hitter Alex Delp with a sacrifice fly. Senior outfielder Trent Champlin singled home Tuohy and junior outfielder Zach Baumann had a sacrifice fly to score senior infielder Shawn Martin for a 6-1 lead.
Chiero drove in Champlin and freshman catcher Doland Martin scored on an error in Gahanna’s two-run seventh.
Gahanna took a 1-0 lead in the second on a triple by Baumann followed by a double by Chiero.
Darby (20-11) tied the game in the bottom of the second. Senior catcher Stephan Hernon walked, moved to third on a one-out double by Longwell and scored on a passed ball.
Senior infielder Nate Green doubled in the third and senior outfielder Hayden VanKirk had a single in the fifth for the Panthers’ other two hits.
“(Daniels) had three pitches he could throw for strikes,” Darby coach Chris Fugitt said. “He kept us off-balance.”