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OHSAA Division I State Championship - #6 Olentangy Liberty vs #12 Anthony Wayne


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Ohio Spring baseball always seems to fly by and in 2018 that is most definitely evident with the fact we are in Columbus at beautiful Huntington Park for the State Final Four. That means the four best teams in each division will battle it out to see who is the champion.

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OHSAA DIVISION I STATE FINAL - #6 Olentangy Liberty vs #12 Anthony Wayne

COLUMBUS - Olentangy Liberty completed its run to a state title in impressive fashion on Saturday, rolling past Anthony Wayne 8-1 in the Division I championship game.

The Patriots tallied three runs in the first and tacked on four in the third and the Generals were never able to get back in it against Liberty right-hander Jack Metzger.

“One strength of our team is our team, it goes one through nine,” explained Liberty head coach Ty Brenning. “You talk about a lineup that’s deep, that’s us. It’s scary.”

Anthony Wayne found that out early when Corey Mayer roped a three-run double to start the onslaught in the first after a walk to Carson Comer and singles by Brennan Rowe and Corbin Parrish.

Justin Nelson had a two-run triple in the third to plate Mayer and Connor Osmond and Mitchell Okuly brought in Nelson. Okuly later stole home for a 7-1 lead.

“When you’ve got a kid like Justin Nelson in the eight-spot who can handle the bat the way he does,” Brenning said about the junior first baseman that was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. “He’s got a great two-strike approach and goes opposite. He’s a spark plug for us.”

Anthony Wayne, which beat top-ranked Mason 2-1 in the semifinals behind the pitching of Brock Nartker, could only manage one run in the second on a Nartker ground out that scored Andrew Murphy with an unearned run

Jack Metzger struck out seven and walked three in the three-hit outing for the Patriots.

Liberty, which pounded out 13 hits in a run-rule semifinal victory over Medina Highland, had 11 hits against the Generals.

“Our guys see great pitching all the time in intersquad and practice situations,” Brenning said. “Some of the best things we did the last two days were pitches we didn’t swing at. Plate discipline and barrel accuracy was great all weekend.”

HOT TAKES

Quick start: Close low-scoring games are the preference for Anthony Wayne’s small ball approach. When Liberty scored three in the first there was concern on the AW side. Four in the third added to the worries.

Players of the game: Mayer and Nelson each drove in three runs. Mayer’s was perhaps the biggest hit, a three-run double in the first, while Nelson had two singles and a triple in three plate appearances.

D-I tourney co-MVPs: When a team pounds out 24 hits in two state tourney games (just 11 innings to the plate), it has to be a hitter as MVP. Have you read this before? Mayer and Nelson. Mayer finished 3-5 with seven RBIs in the two games while Nelson was 5-7 while driving in five.

Deep lineup: When the seven- and eight-hole hitters combine to go 5-6 with three runs and three RBIs, the opposition is usually in trouble. That was the case in the finals with Connor Osmond, who was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs, and Nelson. In fact seven, different Patriots touched home plate and seven different drove in runs..

What’s next?: Six seniors will be tough to replace for the Generals, five of which start including the one-two pitching punch of Nartker and Murphy. Schneider, Haugh and Theis comprise three other key losses. ...A deep squad led by Ohio State recruit Okuley, a junior, and sophomore standout Rowe should have the Patriots in the running for another tourney run if more pitching can be found to go with Metzger.

LINESCORE

Anthony Wayne           010 000 0 - 1 3 0
Olentangy Liberty        304 010 x - 8 11 1

Records:.Olentangy Liberty 30-4, Anthony Wayne 27-5

Winning Pitcher: Jack Metzger (7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 7 strikeout, 3 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Andrew Murphy (4 innings, 8 runs, 11 hits, 2 strikeouts, 4 walks). Other: Steve Haugh.

Leading Hitters: (Anthony Wayne) - Nick Schneider single; Steve Haugh single; Andrew Murphy single. (Olentangy Liberty) - .Mitchell Okuley 2 singles; Carson Comer single; Brennan Rowe single; Corbin Parrish single; Corey Mayer double, 3 RBIs; Connor Osmond 2 singles, 2 runs; Justin Nelson 2 singles, triple, 3 RBIs.