Parker Thompson had a feeling what pitch he was about to see in the sixth inning of a tied Division I district final May 16, and as a result he helped deliver the New Albany High School baseball team some history.
Thompson’s single scored Nick Shroyer with the eventual winning run, and nifty defense in the seventh sealed the Eagles’ 2-1 win over Pickerington Central at Blacklick Elementary School for their first Division I district championship.
Shroyer led off the sixth inning with a double over right fielder Trenton Gillison off Tigers pitcher Justin Maynard, and Shroyer never stopped running when Thompson lined a single to left.
“I’d been seeing a lot of offspeed pitches, mostly changeups,” Thompson said. “I went up there with the approach that I’d see an offspeed pitch. I knew they wouldn’t change anything, so I sat on a changeup and timed it well.”
Sixth-seeded New Albany improved to 19-8 and will play Olentangy in a regional semifinal May 24 at Dublin Coffman.
Eagles pitcher Alex Arenschield finished off a solid complete game in the seventh, when he allowed consecutive singles to Maynard and Karter Johnson before Grant Puskar grounded into a game-ending double play.
Arenschield allowed five hits, struck out two and walked one while inducing 12 ground-ball outs.
A.J. Thomas hit a leadoff home run for the 10th-seeded Tigers, who committed two of their three errors in the second inning to help New Albany tie the game.
Central finished 15-10 and lost in a district final for the third consecutive year. All of those losses have been by one run.
“We never stopped fighting or competing,” Tigers coach Ray Noe said. “New Albany is a scrappy team. I was impressed with their mental toughness.”
Olentangy 5, Hilliard Darby 4
Left-handed hitter Cole Robinson slapped a two-out, two-run double to left-center field in the top of the seventh inning to break a 3-all tie and pitcher Caden Kaiser stranded the potential tying run at second base in the bottom of the seventh to help ninth-seeded Olentangy edge second-seeded Darby in a Division I district final May 16 at Dublin Coffman.
“We got some big timely hits and Caden got out of a few jams and that was the difference,” Olentangy coach Ryan Lucas said. “That’s baseball. It’s all about timely hits and good pitching.”More video
•Olentangy's Caden Kaiser
The Braves, who improved to 21-9 and advanced to play New Albany in a regional semifinal May 24 at Coffman, scored all of their runs with two outs.
In the first inning, Kaiser had an infield single and scored on a bloop single to right field by Sutton Bucci. The Braves made it 3-0 in the fourth when Josh Moeller walked and scored on a double by Connor Haag, who scored on a single by Lucas Hassinger.
The Panthers got a two-run double from Cameron Tackett in the fourth and tied the game in the fifth when Brice Stultz doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ben Gbur.
Darby tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh, as Ian Coverstone reached on an error and Tyler Chumita singled. Stultz sacrificed to move the runners up a base and Gbur hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Coverstone, but Kaiser got the Panthers’ Tim Hales to ground out to end the game.
Kaiser, a left-hander, allowed six hits, walked two and did not have a strikeout. He threw 117 pitches.
“There’s a reason he’s going to go to Ohio State,” Lucas said. “He’s our ace and we were going to ride him the whole way. We made a couple of errors behind him, but he just beared down.”
Darby stranded seven runners, including three in the second when they had the bases loaded with one out and two in scoring position in the fourth.
“We had some chances and I was confident even heading into the bottom of the seventh because we had the top of our order up,” said Darby coach Chris Fugitt, whose team finished 21-8. “We had our first two runners on base with the heart of the order coming up. Those guys came through in those situations all season, but we just came up short this time.”
—Brad EmerineDivision III
Columbus Academy 3, Northridge 2
Columbus Academy won its first district title since winning back-to-back championships in 2003 and ’04 by edging fourth-seeded Northridge in a Division III district final May 16 at Mount Vernon Nazarene.
The 12th-seeded Vikings erased a 2-1 deficit by scoring two runs in the fourth inning and then used solid defense and pitching to secure the title.
Hayden Compton had an RBI single in the first inning and earned the win on the mound by pitching six-plus innings. Matthew Saling relieved Compton with two runners on base and no outs in the seventh and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.
Right fielder Jordan Deuring-Hardiman made a running catch in deep right-center field with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh to end the game.
“It was mainly our defense that did the job for us today,” Vikings coach Todd Dunkle said. “We had spectacular plays by just about every one of them.”
Academy improved to 17-13 and will play Pemberville Eastwood, Swanton, Archbold or Genoa Area in a regional semifinal May 24 at Elida Middle School.