Ohio Spotlight Game: D-II State Semifinal - #13 Chaminade Julienne vs #5 Steubenville

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By: Bruce Hefflinger
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Ohio Spotlight Game: D-II State Semifinal - #13 Chaminade Julienne vs #5 Steubenville

COLUMBUS – A fifth inning infield single is all that stood between Garrett Wissman and a no-hitter in the Division II state semifinal game on Saturday.

The senior right-hander allowed just two base runners in leading Chaminade Julienne to its first state appearance in school history with a 3-0 win over Steubenville.

A two-out ground ball up the middle by Nicky Zorne was back-handed by C-J second baseman Nick Wissman but the throw to first was not in time for the lone Steubenville hit.

A one-out walk to Mitchell Gulan in the third was the only other baserunner to reach against Wissman, who set the tone by striking out the side in the first inning and five of the first six batters he faced during an 85-pitch masterpiece.

Ryan Peltier provided Wissman with an early lead by blasting a home run over the left-field fence with two away in the top of the first.

The 13th-ranked Eagles used fundamentals to up the advantage to 2-0 in the second off Zorne, the Steubenville starting hurler. Nick Wissman reached on a walk and moved up on a sac bunt by David Ernst. After a strikeout, Ben Thomas hit an RBI single to right-center field.

C-J threatened to open up the lead in the third with runners on first and third and no outs following singles from Mark Barhorst and Peltier. However, Zorne got out of the jam and then fanned the side in the fourth.

But the Eagles added an insurance run off Zorne in the fifth using more fundamentals. Cameron Benoit started the inning with a bunt single, stole second and advanced to third on a Barnhorst sac bunt. Benoit made it 3-0 on a wild pitch.

It was more than enough for Wissman, who threw 54 of 85 pitches for strikes, fanning seven in the process of beating the fifth-ranked Big Red.

Hot Takes

Key to the game: When a program has not been to state in 42 years, a good start can be vital. Facing a pitcher with state experience (Zorne started in the state semifinals a year ago against Defiance) that came in 8-0 on the season makes it even more important. Peltier’s first-inning bomb seemed to ignite the Eagles and give confidence to a team starting seven underclassmen, four of which are sophomores.

No experience necessary: Who needs experience. Steubenville came in with a lineup that had just three new starters from a state team a year ago and had been dominate in the tourney. The Big Red had won all five tournament games by six or more runs, including three run-rule wins.

Close calls: In six tourney games, Chaminade Julienne has two one-run wins, a pair of two-run victories and now a couple three-run triumphs.

Strong in defeat: A year ago Zorne gave up six runs on 10 hits in seven innings on the mound in the state semis. The senior left-hander was much stronger this time out, fanning 10 and walking one in the six-hit complete game effort.

Player of the game: It can not get more obvious with a dominating effort like Wissman put on. The 5-11 senior, who went to three balls in the count on just six batters, was a big reason why the game lasted just 1:33.

Season finale: Two straight trips to the state semis. What can Steubenville do for an encore now? The top two hitters in the lineup - Gino Pierro and Alec Taylor - are back along with a pair of other starters but the top returning pitcher is current freshman Calvin Bickerstaff, who won five games this season.

What’s next?: While the Big Red looks to the 2018 season after a second straight state semifinal defeat, Chaminade Julienne has already set school history. Is a state title next for head coach Mike Barhorst, whose state semifinal win was his 100th at C-J?


Chaminade Julienne  110 010 0 - 3 6 0
Steubenville                000 000 0 - 0 1 0

Records: Chaminade Julienne 23-4, Steubenville 28-5.

Winning pitcher: Garrett Wissman (7 innings, 0 runs, 0 earned 1 hit, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Losing pitcher: Nicky Zorne (7 innings, 3 runs, 3 earned, 6 hits, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Leading hitters: (CJ) - Cameron Benoit single; Mark Barhorst single; Ryan Peltier single, home run; Ben Thomas single; Daniel Slaybaugh single. (Steubenville) - Nicky Zorne single.