Baseball: Olentangy Orange tops Olentangy Berlin, Lancaster edges Grove City in Division I district finals

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Olentangy Orange celebrates a 5-1 win over visiting Olentangy Berlin in a Division I district final May 27.

DIVISION I

Olentangy Orange 5, Olentangy Berlin 1

Josh Laisure tossed a four-hitter and Cole Cahill had three hits to lead the top-seeded Pioneers to their first district title since 2017 when they reached a state semifinal.

Orange improved to 26-3 and will play Westerville South in a Division I regional semifinal June 3 at Dublin Coffman.

“I pitched in a district final as a sophomore and we lost (5-2 to Hilliard Darby),” said Laisure, a senior who struck out seven and walked four. “This is great, and it’s been a long time coming.”

The host Pioneers took control early, scoring four times in the bottom of the first. They took advantage of two errors and three batters being hit by pitches.

Charlie Scholvin had a run-scoring double, and Cahill and Austin Knupp both had RBI singles in the inning.

“We have been working on middle, backside (hitting) all year and I stuck to that,” said Cahill, who had a double, two singles and a stolen a base. “I used the whole field and we were able to score some runs. We have been taught to do a job all year and we did that today.”

The 11th-seeded Bears scored in the fourth when Daniel Gladden singled to drive in Parker McDaniels. Gladden took the loss, giving up five runs — one earned — on five hits with three strikeouts, two walks and four hit batters in 5 1/3 innings.

“We had one bad inning,” said Berlin coach Mike Weaver, whose team finished 16-13. “Walks and errors will kill you. All we asked our kids to do is to compete and not quit and they have done that all year, and they did that today.”

Laisure drove in Sam Sells with a sacrifice fly in the sixth for the game’s final run.

“I was happy for our guys,” Orange coach Tom Marker said. “Josh gutted it out when I didn’t think he had his best stuff but he’s a competitor, and he found a way to dig deep and get us through it.”

—Scott Hennen

Grove City's Sam Roy (14) consoles teammate Keegan Holmstrom after a 2-1, 11-inning loss at Lancaster in a Division I district final May 27.

Lancaster 2, Grove City 1 (11 innings)

As Grove City coach Ryan Alexander consoled his team near the first-base line, sixth-seeded Lancaster celebrated its third consecutive Division I district title in short left field after holding off the host and third-seeded Greyhounds on May 27. 

Keegan Montgomery’s squeeze bunt in the top of the 11th scored Riley Poston, who led off the inning with a triple. 

Grove City was outhit 8-5 but had numerous opportunities to capture its first district title since 2014. 

“It’s tough because I think we had a guy on third with about four or five chances to win the game,” Alexander said. “We just couldn't get that one big hit and a couple of them were hit really hard and somehow Lancaster had a guy in that exact spot every time.” 

After Lancaster snapped a scoreless tie with a run in the sixth, Grove City tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on Trent Ruffing’s RBI single to right. 

Freshman Keegan Holmstrom pitched 9 2/3 innings, striking out nine and throwing 125 pitches. 

Zak Sigman suffered the loss in relief. 

Ethan Conley and Sam Roy had two hits apiece for Grove City, which finished 21-9. 

“It was an awesome atmosphere for our guys to get a chance to play in,” Alexander said. “We just wanted to be on the other end of it. The game was pretty clean for the most part. I thought our pitchers battled like crazy. There were just a couple breaks that we didn’t get.” 

Lancaster improved to 25-5 and will play New Albany in a regional semifinal June 3 at Coffman.

—Frank DiRenna

Columbus Academy coach Todd Dunkle stands with several members of his team as a victory celebration occurs on the opposite baseline. The Vikings fell 4-0 at Liberty Union on May 27 in a Division III district final.

DIVISION III

Liberty Union 4, Columbus Academy 0 

Academy saw its season end with a 4-0 loss at third-seeded Liberty Union in a Division III district final May 27. 

The game was postponed May 26 because of bad weather. 

The ninth-seeded Vikings managed just one hit against John Wheeler, a single by Finn Cassady in the sixth inning. Wheeler struck out nine and walked three. 

“He did a great job of hitting spots,” Academy coach Todd Dunkle said. “He threw a couple different pitches for strikes all night. He just kept us off balance and when we did hit the ball, we hit balls right at people and they made all the right plays.” 

Academy finished 11-13. 

The Lions scored a run in the first inning and added three in the fifth. They outhit Academy 6-1. 

Brady Hess went the distance on the mound for the Vikings, allowing two earned runs while striking out none and walking five. 

Liberty Union improved to 17-6 and will play Minster or Pemberville Eastwood in a regional semifinal June 3 at Elida. 

—Frank DiRenna

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