2021 OHSAA Tournament: Division IV State Final - No. 14 Warren JFK vs No. 4 Lincolnview

Dylan Hefflinger and Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Editor in Chief/NW Scout and Senior Writer

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AKRON - Warren John F. Kennedy captured the first state championship in school history on Sunday behind the five-hit pitching of Gavin Shrum, knocking off Lincolnview 4-0 for the Division IV title.

In becoming the third team of the day to claim state crown number one, the 14th-ranked Eagles closed out a remarkable run in the tournament with just 11 players on the roster.

“It was a team effort,” head coach James Ciambotti said. “We started with 11, the biggest thing we had to do was stay healthy.”

Having players like Shrum and Cam Hollobaugh, the winning pitcher in Saturday’s semifinal with Fort Loramie, helped the cause.

“Gavin Shrum is a bulldog, scrappy, hard-nosed, dirtbag, baseball kid,” the first-year JFK head coach explained. “He loves to take swings and is always thinking about baseball ... thinking about the next game ... the opponent. He’ll be a great coach some day, too.”

Shrum, who threw 4.2 innings of no-hit relief in the regional finals against Tiffin Calvert, was confident entering the game against the fourth-rated D-IV team in Ohio..

“We had a lot of trust coming in,” Shrum related. “Cam got it done for us yesterday, I just felt I had to do the job and I think I got it done.

“I really came in with the philosophy of pitching to contact today and strikeouts will come. I did just that. The team made great plays behind me and I couldn’t ask for more.”

JFK scored all the runs needed in the top of the fourth featuring RBI singles from Michael Mauro, Aiden Rossi and Santino Ciambotti.

The 14th-rated Eagles added one more tally an inning later on another run-scoring hit from Mauro to bring in Shrum after Caleb Hadley was intentionally walked.

“I think they were sleeping on me,” Mauro said. “I just had to hit the ball.”

Collin Overholrt went the distance and took the loss for Lincolnview, which ended the season with a 24-9 mark.

Landon Price had a pair of singles to lead the Lancers at the plate.

Shrum, Mauro and Rossi each had two hits for JFK, which set a school record for wins in a season in finishing 21-6.

It capped off a high-school year in which JFK went to the state football finals and regional finals in basketball before claiming the baseball title.

“Athletically, academically, I couldn’t ask for a better school with the fans … everything,” explained Hollobaugh, an all-state football player and the leading scorer in basketball who is headed to Walsh for baseball.


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Shrum did what a good high school pitcher does, throw strikes, keep the ball down and rely on help from the defense. It resulted in the Lancers hitting nine ground balls that turned into 11 outs with the JFK infield executing two twin killings. Shrum struck out seven and walked just one, throwing 66 of 91 pitches for strikes.

D-IV TOURNEY CO-MVPs: The only senior on JFK, Hollobaugh completed an illustrious career in fine fashion and shares the tournament honor with Shrum based on his four-hit performance in the semifinals. Shrum not only had a great pitching outing, but was 4-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored. Both sparkled in the field at shortstop as well when the other was on the mound.

GROUND BALLS: Kudos to the JFK defense as mentioned before, with second baseman Santino Ciambotti recording six assists while helping turn a pair of double plays. Rossi at first base aided the cause with great glove work on any low throw.

FAILED IN THE CLUTCH: Price was left stranded at third base in the first, but Lincolnview never had a runner get past second the remainder of the game. The Lancers had their leadoff hitter on base in three of the first four frames, but could never break through against Shrum.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Lincolnview will be a team to contend with in 2022 with six starters back led by Ohio State commit Price, sophomore shortstop Dane Ebel and juniors Carson Fox and Cole Binkley. Hollobaugh must be replaced by JFK, but with four freshmen and one sophomore starter the future looks bright for Ciambotti’s Eagles.


Warren JFK        000 310 0 - 4 8 2
Lincolnview        000 000 0 - 0 5 0

Records: Warren JFK 21-6, Lincolnview 24-9

Winning Pitcher: Gavin Shrum (7 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Losing Pitcher: Collin Overholt (7 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 9 strikeouts, 3 walks).

Leading Hitters: (Warren JFK) - Michael Condoleon single; Gavin Shrum 2 singles; Michael Mauro 2 singles; Aidan Rossi 2 singles; Santino Ciambotti single. (Lincolnview) - Landon Price 2 singles; Carson Fox single; Cole Binkley single; Caden Hanf single.


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