Prep Baseball Report

2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division I State Semifinal - No. 2 Olentangy Berlin vs No. 12 Twinsburg

Bruce Hefflinger
Prep Baseball Ohio Senior Writer

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2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division I State Semifinal - No. 2 Olentangy Berlin vs No. 12 Twinsburg

AKRON - The magical tournament run continues for Twinsburg. A 4-1 victory over Olentangy Berlin in the Division I semifinals has the 12th-ranked team in Ohio one win away from a state championship.

Josh Stalnaker went the distance in outpitching Berlin starter Taylor Bednar, sending the Tigers to the state finals on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Friday's late game between Mason and Perrysburg.

It was none other than Stalnaker who got things started in the bottom of the sixth after Berlin tied up the game at 1-1 in the top of the inning. The Twinsburg three-hole hitter lined a sharp single to right and was replaced by pinch runner J.D.Okuma. Kris Kimmel then hit a one-hopper back to the mound but Bednar threw wide of the bag at second.

After a force out at third on a Lane Conway bunt, Adam Taneja walked to load the bases against relief pitcher Kyle Haag. A free pass to Jason Cox  a 3-2 pitch brought home CJ Lyden, who had come in to run for Kimmel, and with it a 2-1 lead. Freshman Kyler Hoon, who drove in the first Twinsburg run in the second on a two-out base hit, promptly ripped a base hit to make it 3-1. Jaden Dye followed with a sacrifice fly to left for a three-run advantage.

Stalnaker made it stand up, allowing one hit in the top of the seventh propelling the Tigers to the state finals for the first time in school history.

Down 1-0, Berlin had evened the game in the top of the sixth on a walk to Daniel Barreca, a Lucas Patrick sac bunt, a flyout and an Ascher Dent RBI single to right-center field.

But that was all that the second-ranked team in the state could muster off of Stalnaker, an Ashland commit ranked 68th among seniors in Ohio.

It brought an end to the season for the Bears, which finish with a 27-4 record.


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Stallnaker did a little bit of everything, including a pair of singles at the plate. But it was on the mound where the senior stood out against a Berlin squad that had won 19 of its last 20 games. There were seven strikeouts in the four-hitter with two free passes permitted. His day at the dish could have even been better but with a man on second in the first, Berlin shortstop Lucas Patrick went back to snare a line drive.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Oh, what if.. That is the case for Berlin in this one. It goes back to the potential double play one hopper back to the mound that turned into two on and no outs instead of nobody on and two outs in what proved to be the inning of the game, the last of the sixth.

FANTASTIC ROSH: It is hard not to point out what Twinsburg's Hoon did in this matchup of state-ranked teams. The freshman had two hits and drove in a pair while also fielding the only ball hit his way, a hard shot to third with two on and two away in the sixth. His only out on this day was a line drive to Berlin third baseman Maddox Pulliam, who made a nice snag going to his left with a runner on second and two away in the second.

WHAT’S NEXT?: What a tough way to end the season for the Bears and head coach Mike Weaver. A lineup with six senior starters will be difficult to replace after making it to the state tournament for the initial time in school history. Two returning outfielders and a shorstop are back for the Ohio Capital Conference champions.


Olentangy Berlin      000  001  0  -  1  4  1
Twinsburg                 010  003  x  -  4  7  0

Records: Twinsburg 24-5, Olentangy Berlin 27-4.

Winning Pitcher: Josh Stalnaker (7 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Taylor Bednar (5.1 innings, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 6 hits, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks). Others: Kyle Haag, Jack Showalter.

Leading Hitters: (Olentangy Berlin) - Daniel Barreca run; Lucas Patrick single; Ascher Dent 2 singles, RBI; Baret Spencer single. (Twinsburg) - Bobby Lemieux 2 singles; Josh Stalnaker 2 singles; C.J. Lyden run; Lane Conway 2 runs; Aiden Taneja run; Jason Cox single, RBI; Kyler Hoon 2 singles, 2 RBI; Jaden Dye RBI.

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