Prep Baseball Report

2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division III State Semifinal - No. 11 Millbury Lake vs No. 24 Minford

Bruce Hefflinger
Prep Baseball Ohio Senior Writer

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2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division III State Semifinal - No. 11 Millbury Lake vs No. 24 Minford

AKRON - Drew Tajblik scattered four hits in pitching Millbury Lake past Minford 4-0 in the Division III semifinals on Saturday morning, sending the Flyers to the state finals for the first time ever.

The 43rd-rated junior in the state did not allow a Minford player to reach third base until the seventh, giving up a lead-off hit to Carson Cronin in the first, infield singles to Cronin in the third and Cam Thacker in the seventh and a Carter Frazie line single to left with two outs in the seventh.

Tajblik also keyed a three-run third inning for the 11th-ranked team in Ohio with a single to open the frame. The Toledo commit stole second and went to third on a single to right by Jay Blazevich before beating the throw home on a ground ball by Ryan Wagner to make it 2-0. Jack Sobzach, who scored the first Lake run of the game in the second on a double by Caleb Tobias, followed with a RBI ground out before Tobias capped off the top of the third with a run-scoring single to right to plate Wagner.

That was enough for Tajblik, who walked just one batter while fanning seven in the shutout performance.

Thacker, who fell to 10-3 on the season, retired the last 11 batters of the game in a losing cause for Minford, finishing with seven strikeouts while walking two.

Lake, in its third state appearance ever, will take on either top-rated Heath or two-time defending champion Waynedale in Sunday's 4 p.m. final.  


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tajblik was dominant in blanking a Minford squad that had only been shut out once on the season and came in averaging eight runs a game in the tournament. The Lake junior also had two hits while stealing a pair of bases to up his school record for a season to 36.

KEY POINT: Minford appeared ready to jump on top out of the gate. After Lake went down in order in the top of the first, Cronin hit the first pitch of the game by Tajblik for a single and moved to second on a passed ball. Still settling in, Tajblik managed to strike out the next two batters on 3-2 pitches and a ground out got the Flyers out of the inning. The Falcons only had two runners reach second base after that.

OUTFIELD D: Both teams had one outstanding grab in the outfield worth mentioning. Minford left fielder Cronin had a nice sliding catch to take away a hit from Lake's Gavin Kohlhofer in the sixth. Lake freshman center fielder Kaiden Cousino then bettered that grab, going far to his left to haul in a long fly to right-center field by JD Matiz with one on and nobody down in the seventh.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Head coach Eli Daniels will have the bottom four hitters in the batting order returning for his third season at the helm of the Southern Ohio Conference runners-up. One of those is second baseman Max Lauder, who won seven of nine pitching decisions this season including the regional finals against Portsmouth, sending the 24th-rated team in Ohio to state for just the second time in school history.


Millbury Lake     013  000  0  -  4  7  1
Minford              000  000  0  -  0  4  0

Records: Millbury Lake 28-4, Minford 23-6.

Winning Pitcher: Drew Tajblik (7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Losing Pitcher: Cam Thacker (7 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Leading Hitters: (Millbury Lake) - Drew Tajblik 2 singles, run; Jay Blazevich 2 singles, run; Ryan Wagner run, RBI; Jack Sobzack single, run, RBI; Caleb Tobias single, double, 2 RBI. (Minford) - Carson Cronin 2 singles; Cam Thacker single; Carter Frazie single.

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