Powered by the hitting of senior catcher Cael Baker, the Gahanna Lincoln High School baseball team edged third-seeded Olentangy 11-10 in a Division I district championship game May 18 at Dublin Coffman.
Baker went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a walk and four RBI as the seventh-seeded Lions improved to 16-7 and advanced to play Big Walnut in a regional semifinal May 25 at Coffman.
The Braves finished 21-5.
“We won district last year, but this was such a crazy game,” Baker said. “That game was an emotional roller-coaster.”
Baker hit a solo home run in the first inning and a three-run homer in the second, but the Braves scored two runs in the first and three in the second and the game was tied at 5 through two innings.
In the third, Gahanna took a 7-5 lead when Josh Oddi doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Devon Lee and Alex Streitenberger doubled and scored on a single by Noah Laurent.
The Braves tied it in the bottom of the third as Berto Carselle walked and Jake McIntyre hit a two-run home run.
Olentangy took an 8-7 lead in the fourth on a leadoff homer by Logan Ketron, but the Lions answered in the sixth when Mason Coleman singled and scored on a single by Jarod White.
Then in the top of the seventh, Gahanna scored three runs to take an 11-8 lead. After a single by Streitenberger, Laurent singled to shallow right field and the throw back to the infield got past the third baseman, allowing Streitenberger to score and moving Laurent to third. The Braves committed two more errors in the inning that led to two additional runs.
In the bottom of the seventh, Olentangy loaded the bases and scored two runs on walks before reliever Major Belli forced a fielder’s choice to end the game.
“That’s what we do at Gahanna — we win district titles,” said Lions coach Mike Shade, whose team won its fourth district championship in five seasons and seventh since 2008.
Big Walnut 6, Grove City 1
As Big Walnut prepared to shake hands with Grove City following their Division I district title game May 18 at Upper Arlington, chants of “three-peat” rang through the Golden Eagles’ line.
The eighth-seeded Golden Eagles earned their third consecutive district title while improving to 23-5 and advancing to face Gahanna in a regional semifinal May 25 at Coffman. The top-seeded Greyhounds finished 22-6.
“This doesn’t get old,” Big Walnut coach Jack Schone said. “The kids earned it. They worked hard all year and the No. 1 goal was to get back to the district championship (game). They accomplished that and we’re here.”
Grove City starting pitcher A.J. Peter was perfect through four innings before allowing two runs in the fifth, highlighted by back-to-back doubles by Parker Imertreijs and Connor Gerren to lead off the inning. Gerren and Henry von Hollen each had an RBI in the inning.
Big Walnut tacked on four runs in the sixth, with Jake Foster capping the outburst with a two-run double.
Cole Antle drove in Grove City’s lone run with a double in the sixth.
Big Walnut pitcher Austin Becker went the distance, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out nine.
—Frank DiRennaDivision II
DeSales 5, Lakewood 0
Jarod Jones tripled to lead off the fourth inning and scored on a throwing error, then added a two-run home run in the seventh to lead third-seeded DeSales past second-seeded Lakewood in a Division II district final May 18 at Lancaster.
The district championship is the Stallions’ second in a row and 19th overall.
Greg Gilbert stuck out four and scattered six hits in a complete-game effort for the Stallions, who improved to 17-11 and advanced to a regional semifinal May 25 at Mason.
A 7-6-2 force out at home on Tanner Warthman’s double to left field in the fourth kept DeSales in the lead.
Lakewood finished 22-7.
—Dave PurpuraDivision IV
Newark Catholic 2, East Knox 0
Fourth-seeded Newark Catholic won its 12th consecutive Division IV district championship by beating second-seeded East Knox on May 18 at Don Edwards Field in Newark.
The Green Wave improved to 9-17 and advanced to play Hamilton New Miami or Lewisburg Tri-County North in a regional semifinal May 25 at Carlton Davidson Stadium in Springfield.
Newark Catholic scored one run in the fifth inning and one in the seventh and Jody Mummey picked up the win on the mound.
East Knox finished 19-4.