Prep Baseball Report

2021 OHSAA Tournament Wrap-up

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

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To view the 2021 All-Tournament Team, please CLICK HERE.

To view the pitching velocities from the tournament, please CLICK HERE.

2021 OHSAA Tournament Wrap-up

AKRON - While we await the upcoming release of the Prep Baseball Report All-State Teams - which will attempt to honor all of the deserving players in Ohio - the conclusion of the state tournament on Sunday means the end of the 2021 high school season.

After what everyone went through in 2020, this past season has to be considered among the most satisfying ever. The 93rd annual state tourney certainly fit that description … to the delight of all in attendance or following via social media or other avenues.

An event like this can not just finish without one final observation. With that, here is a wrap-up of this year’s state tournament.

MAGIC NUMBERS: The three-day event had three games that ended in shutouts, three first-year state champions and three that were crowned with the nickname Eagles. … There were six one-run games, six teams finished with one run scored and the largest margin of victory was six. … There were 11 complete games thrown and, of course, by now those with an interest know that Warren JFK only had 11 players on their roster. … All four state champions were ranked in the final PBR ratings, Warren JFK 14th, CHCA 12th, Hoban 22nd and New Albany 11th.

HITTING THOUGHTS: Hard to believe, but not one team in the 12 contests played reached double-digit hits in a game. In fact, there were three games with less than 10 hits by the two teams combined. … So who were the best hitters at the tournament? New Albany’s Brock Tibbitts and JFK’s Gavin Shrum were the only players to produce two hits in a game twice. The only player to finish a game with three hits was Will Murphy, of CHCA, who was a pinch-hitter in the first inning of the D-III semifinal game against Barnesville and went on to pound out a single, double and triple. … There were no home runs hit in the tourney, but the view from here is that Elder left-hander Jackson Grimmelsman had the most power, consistently barrelling up the ball deep to right field.

VIEW OF THE MOUND: Not surprisingly, the top pitching performances took place in the semifinals. Lincolnview junior Landon Price (pictured) was arguably the most impressive with a 14-strikeout, two-hit showing in a 2-1 win over Lucasville Valley in D-IV action, the run being unearned. Honorable mention goes to Jayden Seiler of Archbold who threw a three-hit shutout against Canton Central Catholic in the D-III semifinals, Logan Moore of Bloom-Carroll who blanked Badin for 6.2 innings in the D-II semis and CHCA’s Cooper Robinson who tossed a two-hitter with 11 Ks in the 4-1 D-III state title game win over Archbold. … Not to be overlooked are two that went the extra mile. Joshua Moore of Bloom-Carroll did not allow an earned run in eight innings of a 10-inning 2-1 loss to Hoban in the D-II state finals and Noah LaFine of Hoban threw 8.2 total innings allowing one run in six innings of Sunday’s championship game after 2.2 shutout frames in relief in a 4-3 victory over Vermilion on Friday.

PERPLEXING: While the recruiting game took a hit with covid and roster extensions making it more difficult for current juniors and seniors when it comes to scholarships, there is one uncommitted player that was at state who stood out … in more ways than one. At 6-8, Erik Stern of Walsh Jesuit was not only the tallest player at state but the most surprising to still not have a college home. The senior left-hander, who has offers in both baseball and basketball, hit 87 on the gun, showed more than one release point and had outstanding command with all of his pitches in two innings of relief in the D-I semifinals against eventual state champion New Albany. Stern, who ended the season with a 0.00 ERA, did not allow a hit or walk while striking out four of the six batters he faced. Not to be outdone, Lincolnview's uncommitted RHP/C Collin Overholt is another 2021 who should've been picked up by now, considering he has a nice four-pitch mix, including a fastball that has gotten up to 90 mph.

HERE AND THERE: If research is correct, this was the first tournament since the format switched to four divisions that the finals produced a match-up of parochial versus private schools in all four championship games. New Albany’s win in the Division I finale prevented parochial schools from a sweep. … The 10-inning state finals between Hoban and Bloom-Carroll was the longest Division II championship game in history. … Talk about late starts to the season - with just 11 players in the program, Warren JFK only had five players practicing baseball until the basketball tournament completed. The Eagles made a run to the regional finals on the hardwood. ... How about this for a fun weekend? CHCA leadoff hitter Jack Vogele helped the Eagles to a 7-1 win over Barnesville in the Friday morning D-III semifinal game, then flew out to Indianapolis for his brother’s wedding before returning to play in the state championship victory over Archbold on Sunday. … Hitless in his first three ABs as a left-hander, which included a walk, Walsh Jesuit’s Jake Armsey switched over to bat right-handed in his last at-bat of the D-I semifinal with New Albany even though a right-hander was on the mound. The switch-hitting senior promptly ripped a double down the left-field line on the first pitch. … Has there ever been a state finals featuring coaches with more combined wins than the D-I title game this year? New Albany’s Dave Starling entered the match-up with 504 career victories while Elder mentor Mark Thompson had 601.

KUDOS TO THE CHAMPS: What a ride to the state title for New Albany. The Division I champions beat top-ranked Olentangy Orange in the regional finals, defeated second-rated Walsh Jesuit in the state semifinals and then brought home the crown with a win in the D-I finale over Elder, which was seeking to capture state for a record-setting 13th time (Elder is tied with Coldwater for the most years participating in the state tournament with 21). Thankfully, from a personal standpoint, my cell phone survived the water bath while standing next to head coach Starling while giving an interview after the finals.

WRAPPING IT UP: That is all from here. What a weekend it was great working at state with such dedicated workers from Prep Baseball Report, Dylan Hefflinger, Alex Stefanelli and his brother Adam Stefanelli. Thanks to those at Canal Park for the hospitality and congratulations to all the participants, especially the state champions: Warren JFK in D-IV, CHCA in D-III, Hoban in D-II and New Albany in D-I. Looking forward to the 2022 state tournament which is scheduled to take place the second weekend in June. The site is likely to be determined this summer with Akron and Columbus, reportedly, the front-runners to host.

2021 State Tournament Game Stories:

Division I

Division II

Division III

Division IV

2021 Spring High School Season Content

To view all things related to the 2021 Spring High School Baseball Season, click here.

To view the Tournament Scoreboard, click here.

To view the State Previews, click here.

To view the Regional Previews, click below:

To view the Weekly Team Rankings, click below:

To view the Preseason All-State Teams, click below:

To view the 2021 Ohio Spring Scout Blog, click below:

To view the 2021 PBR Ohio HS Teams of the Week, click below:

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