Prep Baseball Report

2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division IV State Semifinal - No. 3 Hiland vs No. 4 Russia

Bruce Hefflinger
Prep Baseball Ohio Senior Writer

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2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division IV State Semifinal - No. 3 Hiland vs No. 4 Russia

AKRON - A semifinal matchup of teams that met in last year's Division IV state championship game was every bit a fan of baseball could to witness.

Without a base runner heading into the bottom of the sixth, defending state champion Berlin Hiland finally got to Russia pitcher Braylon Cordonnier with a pair of runs en route to a 2-0 victory.

With one away, Connor Beachy broke up the perfect game with a walk but was erased on a fielder's choice ground out. Winning pitcher Caden Coblentz then ended the no-hit bid by Cordonnier with a line single to center, moving Wyatt Miller to second base. Cody Yoder followed with a double to right-center bringing in two for the third-ranked team in the state.

That was more than enough for Coblentz, who retired Hiland 1-2-3 in the seventh to finish off a five-hitter, putting the Hawks in the state finals against Fort Recovery on Sunday at 7 p.m.

The Hiland junior, the 283rd-rated 2025 in Ohio, struck out nine and did not walk a batter for his ninth win in 10 decisions this season, snapping a 15-game Russia winning streak.

Jade Count had a single and double for Russia, the number four team in the state which left four runners on base in the heartbreaking defeat to close out the year at 27-5.

Now winners of 12 in a row, Hiland, the top-rated preseason team in Ohio, will take a 26-5 record into the state championship contest.


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Caden Coblentz not only threw a shutout, but had the first hit of the game for the Hawks and scored one of the two runs. In addition to firing 59 of 84 pitches for a strike, Coblentz also came up big in the field. With one on and one out in the fourth, Hayden Quinter hit a shot that right fielder Colin Coblentz made an outstanding catch on, then doubled up the runner when his twin brother made a remarkable tag at first base to end the inning.

MATCHING PITCHES: How impressive was the pitching performances in this one? Coblentz blanked a Russia team that had a .349 team batting average and had scored more than 12 runs a game in the tournament. Cordonnier did his part in a game that lasted just 75 minutes. The Marshall commit surrendered just two hits facing a team that was scoring nearly 13 runs an outing in tourney play and was carrying a .332 team average. It was quite a difference from a year ago when Hiland had six hits off of Cordonnier in three-plus innings of the title game.

SIXTH INNING: The sixth inning proved to be the biggest of the game in more ways than one. Obviously it was huge with the Hawks scoring the lone two runs of the game, but the top of the frame was as important. Russia nine-hole hitter Micah Grieshop opened up the sixth with a single and Felix Francis then reached on a bunt single bringing up the meat of the order for the Raiders. However, Coblentz was up to the challenge, enducing a foul out to third before two strikeouts ended the threat.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Not only is Cordonnier, the 71st-rated junior in Ohio, back for Russia, but two other starters will return for a program that had been to state five previous times and had never lost a semifinal game until Saturday. Success is a given under head coach Kevin Phlipot, who has 200 wins in 10 years in charge.


Russia             000  000  0  -  0  5  0
Berlin Hiland 000  002   x  -  2  2  1

Records: Berlin Hiland 26-5, Russia 27-5.

Winning Pitcher: Caden Coblentz (7 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 9 strikeouts, 0 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Braylon Cordonnier (6 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Leading Hitters: (Berlin Hiland) - Caden Coblentz single, run; Cody Yoder double, 2 RBIs; Connor Beachy run. (Russia) - Felix Francis single; Brayden Monnin single; Jude Counts single, double; Micah Grieshop single.

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