Prep Baseball Report

2019 OHSAA Tournament: Division III State Semifinal - No. 22 Ridgewood vs No. 7 Canton Central Catholic

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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2019 OHSAA TOURNAMENT: DIVISION III STATE SEMIFINAL - No. 22 Ridgewood vs No. 7 Canton Central Catholic

AKRON - What a first showing for Ridgewood in the initial state tournament appearance for the program. The Generals scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun Canton Central Catholic 6-5 in the Division III semifinals on Saturday evening.

Connor Kunze lined a single to right-center field with one out to score Kaden Smith with the game-winning run, sending the 22nd-rated team in the state into Sunday’s 7 p.m. championship game against Coldwater.

Trailing 5-4, freshman leadoff hitter Gabe Tingle reached on an infield single and moved up on a Koleten Smith sac bunt to open the seventh. Drew Hallgren came in to relieve starter Andrew Halas and promptly walked Kaden Smith.

Caden Minet then reached on a free pass to load the bases before a wild pitch plated Tingle with the tying run. Memphis Cutshall was intentionally walked, setting the stage for Kunze’s heroics.

CCC, the seventh-ranked team in the state in D-III, led 2-0 after two with Hallgren hitting a single and eventually scoring on a Brad Kling sacrifice fly before Austin Nupp made it 2-0 with an RBI single.

However, Ridgewood took the lead with three unearned runs in the third thanks to three Central Catholic errors after the first two batters were retired.

But the Crusaders went back in front with a pair of runs in the fifth on just one hit, a run-scoring single by Calvin Burns. After Ridgewood tied it in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double by Kaden Smith, Central Catholic regained the advantage at 5-4 when Nupp hit a triple to left-center and came home on a Zack Wassil single in the sixth.

Burns, Hallgren and Nupp all had a pair of hits in a losing cause while Tingle produced two hits for Ridgewood, which was outhit 8-6 but was helped out by five walks and a hit-by-pitch.


Speed kills: Five stolen bases, three by Austin Beck, played a big part of the CCC game plan but Ridgewood catcher Minet threw out a would-be base stealer in the sixth to help prevent the Crusaders from adding to a one-run advantage.

Player of the game: Speedy ninth-grader Tingle had two hits, walked and scored a pair of runs including the tying run in the seventh to spark Ridgewood. His only out during a 2-for-3 evening was a bang bang play at first on a bunt.

Top of the order: The first three hitters in the Ridgewood order all scored twice while each of the first five hitters reached via walk to spark the Generals.

Odd stat: Central Catholic pitchers struck out nine in a losing cause while Ridgewood hurlers did not strike out a batter yet still came out on top.

Odd stat II: After all the visiting teams prevailed on the opening day of the state tournament on Friday, all the home teams were winners in Saturday’s action.

What’s next?: With seven senior starters, the Crusaders will be hard-pressed to make it back to state. However, ace pitcher Andrew Halas had an outstanding season with a 7-0 record while the two Austins, Beck and Nupp, will help the cause for a program that has three state championships in the past dozen years.


Canton Central Catholic  020 021 0 - 5 8 5
Ridgewood                        003 010 2 - 6 6 2

Records: Ridgewood 24-9, Canton Central Catholic 24-7.

Winning Pitcher: Koleten Smith  (1.2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks). Other: Cale Roberts (5.1 innings,5 rins, 8 hits, 0 strikeouts,2 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Drew Hallgren (0 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 strikeouts, 3 walks). Other: Andrew Halas (6 innings, 5 runs, 2 earned, 5 hits, 9 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Leading Hitters: (Canton Central Catholic) - Zack Wassil single; Calvin Burns 2 singles; Drew Hallgren 2 singles; Christian Turner single; Austin Nupp single, triple. (Ridgewood) - Gabe Tingle 2 singles, 2 runs; Koleten Smith single, 2 runs; Kaden Smith double, 2 runs;  Memphis Cutshall single; Connor Kunze single.