2019 OHSAA Tournament: Division I State Semifinal - No. 10 Mentor vs No. 13 Springboro

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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2019 OHSAA TOURNAMENT: DIVISION I State SEMIFINAL - NO. 10 Mentor VS NO. 13 Springboro

AKRON - Crafty left-hander best describes Mentor left-hander Justin Wilson.

The uncommitted senior limited a Springboro team that came into the Division I state semifinals with a .354 team batting average to just two hits in a 4-0 victory in the opening game of the 92nd annual Ohio High School State Baseball Tournament on Friday morning at Canal Park.

Locked in a pitcher’s duel with Ohio State commit Tyler Kean, Wilson struck out eight and walked just one while permitting a second-inning single by Adam Berry and, after retiring nine in a row, gave up a fifth inning base hit to Cam Snurr.

Meanwhile, Mentor scored an unearned run in the top of the fourth when Hal Walker singled in Andrew Witte who opened the inning reaching on an error.

Witte added to the lead with an infield single in the fifth after Noah Gladish hit a two-out single up the middle and Eric Coode reached on a walk. Gladish scored on the Witte base hit with Coode coming home on a throwing error. Matt Sabin brought in Witte with another single for the final run of the frame, in the process ending the day for Kean, the ace of the staff for the 13th-ranked Panthers..

Wilson sat down the last eight Springboro batters in the contest to help the 10th-rated team in the state advance to the state finals for the third time in school history. The Cardinals lost the other two times reaching the title game, falling to Moeller 6-2 in 2004 and West Chester Lakota West 4-0 in 2007.   


Solid game: Witte, Mentor’s junior shortstop who came in leading the Cardinals in batting with a .408 average, had a solid all-around game in the win. Along with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI, Witte snagged a line drive with a Springboro runner on in the fifth and fielded his only opportunity at a ground ball to open the bottom of the seventh.  

Player of the game: Wilson is the easy selection after the two-hit masterpiece. The southpaw threw 101 pitches in the gem, 68 for strikes to improve to 6-0 on the season while lowering his ERA to 0.98.

Defense is key: While Springboro had three errors in the game, and gave up three unearned runs, Mentor was flawless. Left fielder Tim Eppich led the way with a nice shoestring catch going to his right in the first inning while nearly making the defensive play of the game with a diving effort on the hit by Snurr in the fifth. Fittingly, the game ended on a liner to Eppich for the final out.

What’s next?: Gone are four of the top six hitters in the lineup along with the first two  pitchers that threw in the state semifinals for Springboro. But the Panthers have pitcher Austin Fawley to count on after a 12-0 campaign his junior year. In addition, leading hitter Berry returns as does third baseman Snurr, the only two players to get hits for Springboro in the program’s first state appearance ever.


Mentor            000 130 0 - 4 7  0
Springboro     000 000 0 - 0 2  3

Records: Mentor 23-5, Springboro 26-7

Winning Pitcher: Justin Wilson (7 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Kean (4.2 innings, 4 runs, 1 earned 5 hits, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk). Others: Adam Schomburg, Austin Fawley.

Leading Hitters: (Mentor) - Noah Gladish single; Andrew Witte 2 singles, 2 runs; Matt Sabin single; Hal Walker single; Howie Cavell single; Tim Eppich single. (Springboro) - Adam Berry single; Cam Snurr single.