Three early runs ultimately ended the best season for the Olentangy Orange High School baseball team.
The Pioneers surrendered one run in the first inning and two in the second en route to a 3-2 loss to Strongsville in a Division I state semifinal June 2 at Huntington Park.
Orange, which finished 23-9, was making its first state appearance.
Strongsville improved to 25-8 and advanced to play top-ranked Massillon Jackson (29-2) in the state final June 3 at Huntington Park.
“We gave them every run, but we did a good job of coming back,” Orange coach Phil Callaghan said. “This ride has been so much fun for everyone.”
The Mustangs were led by Parker Shannon, who went 3-for-3 with three singles, two RBI, two stolen bases and one run scored. The senior catcher singled in the bottom of the first off losing pitcher Tyler Brown, stole second and moved to third on an errant throw. He then scored on a two-out passed ball.
Shannon had a two-out two-run single in the second to give Strongsville a 3-0 cushion.
Mustangs pitcher Matt Brosky held Orange hitless through four innings before Cole Callaghan had an RBI single to score Garrett O’Reilly in the top of the fifth. Jason Schutte followed with an RBI single to drive in Tyler Ross with the Pioneers’ second run.
“(Brosky) was about what we expected and we were a little overanxious,” coach Callaghan said. “Once we got settled down up there, we weren’t swinging at pitches that weren’t ours.”
Brosky pitched a complete game, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out four.
Brown gave up six hits and one walk and hit a batter. He had eight strikeouts and only two of the runs he allowed were earned.
“Tyler was Tyler out there,” coach Callaghan said. “He was outstanding. We just gave up too many (bases).”
Ben Miller and Zach Stiteler each added a single for Orange.
“This is the kind of game you never forget,” Schutte said. “It’s the kind of game you replay in your mind over and over.”