OHSAA district baseball championship preview: The dominant tone sets the stage

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Twenty -two regional high school baseball teams will compete this week for the district championship.

Seven title games are scheduled for Wednesday in Division II and III, followed by five games in Division I and another one in Division IV scheduled for Thursday.

Of course, he could retire this week, depending on weather conditions.

The dominant pitching show set the stage for the district finals, as the pitcher played with no-hitters and ended up with double-digit strikeouts in the team’s winning district semifinals to begin this week. Strongsville senior Maddux Beard, Wadsworth John Allen, North Royalton’s Gavin Jones and Walsh Jesuit junior Ryan Piech are among the pitchers who could reach the mark in the semifinals.

Win one more this week and advance to next week’s regionals, which are scheduled for Thursday, June 2, and then the regional finals on June 3, in all divisions. Before the team can get there, read about the district championship:

Strongsville (15-13) vs. Wadsworth (18-5)

When: 4 pm Thursday

where: Strongsville High School

What to know: The familiar setting for Strongsville is new to Wadsworth. The Mustangs are back in the district finals for a second straight year, this time on the home field as the 14th seed in the Division I super western district. They face the fifth -seeded Grizzlies, who have won the Suburban League title and will come. off Tuesday’s 3-1 win against Avon Lake. Akron Recruit John Allen pitched six innings with eight strikeouts in one, while Maddux Beard gave Strongsville a full-game, three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in the Mustangs ’6-0 win against Normandy. The winner faces Cleveland district champions, either St. Ignatius or Medina, in the June 2 regional semifinals at North Ridgeville High School.

St. Ignatius (20-6) vs. Medina (19-8)

When: 5 pm Thursday

where: Talty Field on the Brookside Reservation in Cleveland

What to know: Junior Liam Baker made six innings with 12 strikes in the Wildcats ’5-1 district semifinal win against Shaker Heights. Senior shortstop Billy Adams ran the ‘Cats’ bat with three hits, two runs, two RBIs and two steals. Duke recruit Gabriel Nard has also had three hits and two steals with an RBI. St. Ignatius is the No. 1 overall seed in the super western district, which consists of Cleveland, Strongsville and the Brunswick district. Medina, a sixth seed, beat Highland to a 2-1 win in the other district semifinals Tuesday.

Avon (19-5) vs. North Royalton (15-5)

When: 5 pm Thursday

where: Herron Park at Brunswick High School

What to know: Avon has beaten Southwestern Conference rival Amherst twice this season, but the Eagles need two runs in the bottom of the seventh Tuesday to win 3-2 against the Comets in the district semifinals. He won on Tyler Krause’s sacrificial fly to score Ethan Holbrook, after runner’s blow pinched Joe Roesch on a throwing error. North Royalton advanced with a 6-3 win against Westlake, while the Bears took control in the second half and never looked back with Alabama Recruit Gavin Jones on the mound. Jones finished with 12 strikes to lead the Bears, who were fourth -seeded to face the second -seeded SWC champions. This is a super western district confinement heading into the Louisville area next week. The Avon-North Royalton winner will face Kenston or Willoughby South.

Kenston (14-8) vs. Willoughby South (11-13)

When: 5 pm Thursday

where: Euclid High School

What to know: One Cinderella will advance from this bracket, which sees the 17th seed Bombers face 25th seed Willoughby South in a Western Reserve Conference match. Kenston got the start by beating Massillon Jackson, 7-5, on Monday. The Bombers got an extra day to wait and watch before South’s 5-2 win Tuesday against Mentor. The rebels were able to do more damage, leaving 11 runners at base vs. The day before, Kenston rallied from a 5-3 deficit to score four times in the seventh. The Bombers belt 17 hits, led by Logan Koller and Jake Vasil with three each.

Walsh Jesuit (19-5) vs. Mayfield (13-12)

When: 4 pm Thursday

where: Nordonia High School in Macedonia

What to know: The Warriors and Wildcats met for a second straight postseason, but this time two rounds earlier after last season’s regional finals. Walsh Jesuit won 7-0. Big pitching led the Warriors on Tuesday, when junior Ryan Piech beat 19 batters and gave up just one hit in a 4-0 win against Ellet. Recruit Xavier received support from Alex Covas and Cincinnati recruited Joey Canzoni, who joined with three RBIs. Meanwhile, Mayfield used the seventh inning to score 13 times in the first four innings against Massillon Washington. That led to the Wildcats winning 13-1 in five innings, as senior pitcher Patrick Dinnen struck out nine. The winner will face the Canton district champion, either North Canton Hoover or Youngstown Boardman.

Chagrin Falls (17-11) vs. Cloverleaf (19-9)

When: 5 pm Wednesday

where: Revere High School in Richfield

What to know: The Colts upset the No. 2 team in the state coach poll last Friday with a 5-2 win against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in the district semifinals. A strong performance from Mark Stewart on the mound made it possible, while Chagrin Falls won 3-0 against district host Revere to punch the Tigers for this stage. Leo Fornara, who set a pitching record this season at Chagrin Falls, threw a full game with nine strikeouts. He gave up just four hits. The winner goes to the Canton regional at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium to face district champion Struthers, Chardon or Niles McKinley.

Chardon (19-9) vs. Niles McKinley (17-8)

When: 4 pm Wednesday

where: Bob Cene Park in Struthers

What to know: Christian Hall threw the full game, when his bat posted three runs and four RBIs on two hits in the Hilltoppers ’15-6 win vs.. Kyle Maronde added a 4-for-4 game for Chardon, which made McKinley’s squad the 11th seed and beat Canfield, 4-3. Senior Kolton Christopher led the Red Dragons with 38 hits for a .500 batting average with 28 runs, 19 steals and 13 RBIs. McKinley’s upset from Canfield came with a go-ahead, two-run double RBI in the fourth inning from Matt Kozak, who also pitched the full game with five strikeouts.

Tallmadge (18-8) vs. University School (22-7)

When: 4 pm Wednesday

where: Dodge Intermediate School in Twinsburg

What to know: Tallmadge reached his fifth and 10th district title games in the past 11 years after a 4-1 win Monday against Holy Name. Jackson Schwalbach took the win on the mound, while Niko Roldan, Beau Gromley and Ryan Snyder led the Blue Devils to the plate. For the University School, rookie Aaron Moss threw a full game of three hits to lead the Preppers to a 3-0 win against the Buckeye. David Faremouth and Ryan Pattison speeded up the offense. The winner will face the Louisville district champion, either Alliance Marlington or Louisville, in the Canton area.

Shawn Parnell of Hoban

Shawn Parnell of Hoban delivered a pitch Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the Jesuit Walsh at Cuyahoga Falls.(Matt Goul, cleveland.com)

Archbishop Hoban (17-9) vs. Norton (15-10)

When: 5 pm Wednesday

where: North Ridgeville High School

What to know: Defensive state champion attacked the Bay with a 6-5 win at the end of home runner Shawn Parnell (in the park), as he finished 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs. Sophomore Noah LaFine-bound Vanderbilt took the save with two strikeouts in the final inning. Norton topped Beachwood behind a full game from George Antal with two hits each from Carter Metz and Owen Easterling. This is the only district tournament in Division II that is not going to Canton next week. However, the winner here will venture to Bowling Green and face the Fremont district champion.

Elyria Catholic (16-8) vs Hawken (17-4)

When: 5 pm Wednesday

where: SMA Copley

What to know: Copley saw two big district semifinals. Will you see one more thriller for the winner? Levi Ellis gave Elyria Catholic a full game with seven strikes – and 73 of 99 pitches for strikes – as the Panthers won 1-0 against Black River. Ellis also scored a win in the seventh inning on a catcher interference. Hawken advanced with a 5-0 win against Canton Central Catholic and was unbeaten from second-class pitcher Lucas Brandt. Seniors Khalil Suggs and James Ciofani walked the Hawks bat with two hits each. The winner goes to the Massillon area, where they will face the Niles district champion. That would be Canfield South Range or Columbiana.

Gilmour (15-12) vs. Apple Creek Waynedale (23-4)

When: 5 pm Wednesday

where: Norwegian High School in Creston

What to know: Gilmour returned to the district finals after reaching the regional semifinals last year. The Lancer is here after Will Kay and Will Lazzaro won 4-0 against Smithville. Two RBI Jesse Shepherd speeded up the offense, who also got RBIs from Tommy McCrone and Dan Jevnikar. He faced Waynedale in the rematch of last year’s district final. Waynedale beat Manchester, 2-1, in the district final on Monday. Last year, Gilmour won this game, 3-1, at Copley. This year’s winner faces Struthers district champions, either Rootstown or Youngstown Ursuline, next week in Massillon.

Rootstown (14-6) vs. Youngstown Ursuline (17-8)

When: 6:30 pm Wednesday

where: Bob Cene Park in Struthers

What to know: Rovers reached the second straight district final after an 11-1 win against Youngstown Cardinal Mooney in five rounds. He now faces another private school from Youngstown in Ursuline, who defeated the Cardinals in the other district semifinals with a 3-0 win. The Struthers are scheduled to host the district championship doubleheader on Wednesday, starting with the Division II match of Chardon vs. Niles McKinley.

Columbia (15-8) vs. Jeromesville Hillsdale (21-4)

When: 5 pm Thursday

where: SMA Medina

What to know: Senior Owen Menge’s two-run double in the sixth inning propelled Columbia to a 2-1 win Tuesday against Dalton in the district semifinals, sending the second-seeded Raiders into the showdown with top-seeded Hillsdale. The Falcons defeated Mogadore with a 4-3 win in the other semifinals. The winner will travel to the Gates Mills regional next week in Gilmour with Struthers district champion Warren JFK or Lake Center Christian, opponents.

Contact sports journalist Matt Goul on Twitter (@only) or email (mgoul@cleveland.com).