Thu May 17, 2012
By Will Swary
LANCASTER- In a touted battle between top ten teams in the Division II Prep Baseball Report state rankings, No. 5 Columbus Desales used a tough pitching performance from Ohio Northern commitment Nick Eltzroth to beat No. 8 Big Walnut in a tightly contested 2-1 game for the District title.
A mixture of good pitching and good defense kept this game scoreless through 3. Big Walnut starting pitcher Cole Harbin quieted the all senior lineup from DeSales by mixing his pitches and not allowing the DeSales hitters to find a balance early. Harbin only struck out one hitter on the day, but his use of changing speeds made it very hard for Desales hitters to hit the ball hard.
The senior righty Eltzroth matched that performance for Desales using a fastball consistently at 79-81 mph and a sharp curveball at 68-70 mph to attack the Big Walnut lineup. Eltzroth would keep Big Walnut off the scoreboard until the 4th inning when a leadoff single by Aaron Dattilo was followed by a throwing error on a bunt play that would put Dattilo at third with no outs. An eventual single by Aaron Gase would bring Dattilo in for the game’s first run.
DeSales would get that run back in the bottom of the 5th when Derek Traini was bunted in to scoring position at second, following a leadoff walk. Traini would score the tying run on a two out base hit by Brennan Schlabig for a 1-1 score after five innings.
The difference in the game would come in the bottom of the 6th when Eltzroth drove in Lake Erie commitment Zak DeCamp for the leading run. Eltzroth would use that momentum to retire the Golden Gayle’s in order in the 7th for the complete game victory and district title.