Coach Matt Lattig and the Olentangy Liberty High School baseball team wasn't ready for the season to end.

Coach Matt Lattig and the Olentangy Liberty High School baseball team wasn't ready for the season to end.

The seventh-seeded Patriots got a great pitching performance from senior right-hander Tyler Stage but lost to second-seeded Mount Vernon 3-1 last Saturday in a Division I district final at Grove City.

Stage had seven strikeouts, four hits, one walk with three unearned runs.

"In these types of games, you have to makes some plays and you have to catch some breaks," Lattig said after his sixth season leading the program. "We did some things we normally don't do in the field (four errors) and (getting only) four hits won't win you many games."

Stage was in a pitchers' duel with Mount Vernon junior Ben Hoar, who finished with three strikeouts and two walks. The decisive hit came in the fifth inning when Mount Vernon designated hitter Derek Baker hit a 1-2 pitch from Stage over the right-field fence for a two-run homer.

"There were two good teams with a lot of good players going at it," Mount Vernon coach Doug Savage said. "We knew we had to play our best game to win it and maybe we did play out best game of the year."

Baker reached on a two-out fielding error in the first and scored on a single by Russell Doup. The Patriots answered in the first when Michael O'Neill doubled to right-center, stole third base and scored on a groundout by Josh Dezse.

The Patriots won a share of their second consecutive OCC title and their third overall. They tied Dublin Jerome and Dublin Scioto for first in the OCC-Cardinal at 10-4, followed by Westerville South (8-6), Marysville (7-7), Westerville North (5-9), Westerville Central (4-10) and Olentangy (2-12).

The Patriots were led by four seniors who signed Division I scholarships in catcher/pitcher Dezse (Ohio State), shortstop Zack Michael (Toledo), outfielder O'Neill (Michigan) and Stage (Ohio University).

O'Neill led the way, batting .570 (45 for 79) with 11 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 24 RBI. Dezse hit .410 (32 for 78) with five home runs and 33 RBI. Michael had 18 stolen bases.

On the mound, Stage was 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 54 innings with 56 strikeouts and 18 walks. Dezse was 5-2 with one save and a 2.44 ERA in 43 innings with 74 strikeouts and 33 walks.

Other seniors included Stephen Crea (OF; 27 RBI), Blake Hampshire (1B/LHP), Brandon Seich (C) and Joe Trivisonno (LHP).

"Expectations are always high here (at Liberty) and these seniors handled those well," Lattig said. "They have grown a lot during the season and they have a lot to look forward to in the future."

Juniors expected to return include Zach Beard (DH/LHP), Michael Fries (1B/RHP; 4-1, 2.31 ERA, 36 innings,18 strikeouts,12 walks), Sean Pugh (LHP), Jimmy Waterwash (C/2B) and Dylan Yankle (C), as well as sophomore Zach Glaze (3B).

"We're losing a lot of good seniors, but the cupboard is definitely not bare," Lattig said. "The names might not be ones people will recognize, but they're going to work hard and get ready to get back (to a district final) next year."

At a glance

Record: 21-9 overall, 10-4 (tied for first) in OCC-Cardinal Seniors lost: Stephen Crea, Josh Dezse, Blake Hampshire, Zack Michael, Michael O'Neill, Brandon Seich, Tyler Stage and Joe Trivisonno Key returnees: Zach Beard, Michael Fries, Zach Glaze and Jimmy Waterwash