Solid starting pitching has carried area high school teams through the baseball postseason. That was the case again during both regional semifinals last Thursday.

Solid starting pitching has carried area high school teams through the baseball postseason. That was the case again during both regional semifinals last Thursday.

Newark Catholic junior Michael Lewis led the Green Wave as they run-ruled Glouster Trimble 15-2 in Division IV at Lancaster's Beavers Field. Senior Justin White was equally dominant as Lakewood blanked Richmond Edison 4-0 in Division II in Zanesville's Gant Memorial Stadium.

White retired 21 of the 24 batters he faced and carried a two-hitter into the top of the seventh inning for the Lancers. They improved to 26-4 and played Zanesville on its home field in the regional final last Friday.

Lewis allowed a first-inning run, but settled down after that for the Green Wave, which improved to 13-19 while advancing to meet Racine Southern in the regional final last Friday. Tanner Potts pitched the sixth and final inning in relief, yielding another run. Lewis allowed only five hits.

Heath's Division III regional semifinal against Bellville Clear Fork last Thursday in Elida was postponed until last Friday because of thunderstorms. The final was rescheduled for last Saturday against either Coldwater or Bloomdale Elmwood.

When the Green Wave and Bulldogs played in district finals on adjacent fields May 20 at Dublin Jerome, both teams advanced despite not starting their pitching aces.

Lewis delivered seven-plus strong innings and gave up only one run before giving way to No. 1 pitcher Jimmy Lough, who earned the decision in a 2-1 victory in nine innings over Grove City Christian. With Lewis taking the mound last Thursday, that enabled coach John Cannizzaro to save Lough for the regional final.

"It's always about pitching the deeper you go (in the postseason)," Cannizzaro said.

With ace Adam Jenkins sidelined by a knee injury, Heath turned to freshman Chase Geller to pitch the district final against Bloom-Carroll. He had a one-hitter through six innings and earned the decision in a 6-2 victory. Ethan Fleming, the No. 2 pitcher, started the district semifinal.

"It's not rocket science or any-thing. We tell the kids to just throw the ball over the plate and let the defense play behind you," Heath coach Dave Klontz said. "We've got one of the best pitching coaches around in Mike Saalfield, and pitching is how you win at this time of the year."

Lewis benefited from much more run support in winning his third postseason start last Thursday. The Green Wave scored three runs in the top of the second inning against Trimble to take the lead as Garrett Vernau hit a two-run double. Lewis hit a three-run triple in the fourth and Xavier Cook added a two-run single in the inning. Derek Adam's bases-load triple in the sixth inning highlighted a five-run rally.

White got all the run production he needed on Jacob Gray's two-run single in the bottom of the first inning against Edison last Thursday. White was pitching a no-hitter through four after retiring 12 of the first 13 hitters he faced. He allowed only two hits.

In Division IV, the regional champion out of Lancaster plays in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. Thursday in Huntington Park in Columbus. The Division II regional champion out of Zanesville plays in a state semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday.

In Division III, the Elida regional champion plays in a state semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday. Six of the top 10 teams in the final state poll survived district play, including top-ranked Coldwater and second-ranked Bell-ville Clear Fork.


At a glance

Below is the schedule for the state tournament in Columbus' Huntington Park:

THURSDAY - 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Division IV semifinals; 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Division III semifinals;
FRIDAY - 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Division I semifinals; 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Division II semifinals; SATURDAY - 10 a.m., Division IV final; 1 p.m., Division III final; 4 p.m., Division I final; 7 p.m., Division II final