Prep Baseball Report

2019 OHSAA Tournament: Division IV State Semifinal - No. 1 Hillsdale vs No. 9 Minster

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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AKRON - The battle of left-handers lasted just 80 minutes with Hillsdale senior Jay Luikart outdueling Minster junior Austin Brown in a 1-0 Division IV state semifinal game on Friday at Canal Park.

Doing it against strong hitting teams made the performance of each even more impressive. Luikart allowed just two hits against a team that had scored 10 or more runs in 11 of their last 13 contests, while Brown permitted only three hits versus a squad that was scoring more than 11 runs an outing.

The only run of the game came in the top of the second when Briar Funk led off with a single, went to second on a Ty Williams walk, moved up on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sac fly from Evan Rottman.

Minster threatened in both the fourth and fifth innings, loading the bases with two outs in the fourth and putting a runner on third with two away a frame later. But Luikart got out of the jam both times to send the state’s top-ranked team to the Division IV championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Garrett GoodwinLuikart and Funk had the lone hits for the Falcons in their first-ever state appearance, while Noah Enneking and Jacob Niemeyer produced singles for ninth-ranked Minster.


Big inning: Each team had the 3-4-5 part of their order coming to bat in the sixth and both pitchers stood tall. After Brown struck out the side on 10 pitches, Luikart responded with a 1-2-3 inning, fanning the final two batters in a 12-pitch frame..

Player of the game: Luikart obviously. The senior left-hander threw 62 out of 91 pitches for strikes, fanning nine including four in a row before retiring the last batter of the game on a foul out. Uncharacteristically, Luikart did walk three after giving up just eight free passes in 61.1 innings coming in. But it did not prevent the Hillsdale standout from moving to 11-0 on the season.

Overlooked: In an era when fundamentals is lacking at the highest level, one of the biggest at-bats by Hillsdale may have been overlooked by some. But with runners on first and second with one down in the second, DH Garrett Crites put down a bunt for his first sacrifice of the season, putting Funk in position to score the game’s lone run on a sac fly.

What’s next?: When a team has been to state four times in the past nine years the chances of making another run to state is high. When that team returns six starters including leadoff hitter Jack Olberding along with ace pitcher Austin Brown, the five-hole hitter, prospects are even higher which is the case with Minster and veteran head coach Mike Wiss.


Hillsdale       010 000 0 - 1 3  0
Minster         000 000 0 - 0 2  0

Records: Hillsdale 28-2, Minster 22-8

Winning Pitcher: Jay Luikart (7 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 9 strikeouts, 3 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Austin Brown (7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks).

Leading Hitters: (Hillsdale) - Garrett Goodwin single; Jay Luikart single; Briar Funk single. (Minster) - Noah Enneking single; Jacob Niemeyer single.