Prep Baseball Report

OHSAA Division IV State Championship - #5 Hicksville vs #10 Fort Loramie

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Ohio Spring baseball always seems to fly by and in 2018 that is most definitely evident with the fact we are in Columbus at beautiful Huntington Park for the State Final Four. That means the four best teams in each division will battle it out to see who is the champion.

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OHSAA DIVISION IV STATE Championship - #5 Hicksville VS #10 Fort Loramie

COLUMBUS - Comebacks are nothing new for Fort Loramie, which rallied late in both the regional finals and state semifinals for wins. The Redskins did it again on Saturday on the biggest stage of all.

Trailing 4-0, Fort Loramie tallied eight runs in the fifth inning en route to an 8-4 victory over Hicksville in the Division IV state championship game.

“It wasn’t anything different than we’ve done in the tournament,” Fort Loramie first-year head coach Jeff Sanders said of the big inning. “We get in a groove, our hitters make adjustments and we take great approaches at the plate.”

After Carter Mescher lined a bases-loaded, one-out single to right that fell out of the glove of a diving attempt by Jonah Gipple for the first Fort Loramie run, Dylan Albers tied the game with a three-run triple to deep center.

“They were just squaring up,” Hicksville coach Tim Shock said. “It’s not that we were playing our outfielders in.”

CJ Billings then singled to center to plate Albers with the go-ahead run. After a throwing error, Eli Rosengarten hit a two-run double to left (just out of the reach of Eric Chapman) and Austin Siegel, who opened the inning with a single, followed with a run-scoring triple to right to end the day of Hicksville starting pitcher Parker Thiel.

“When you’re solid one through nine something at some point is going to give,” Sanders said. “We try to put constant pressure on the opponent so they have to make great pitches.”

The eight-run frame helped the the Redskins overcome a 4-0 deficit in which Hicksville scored one in the third and three in the fourth.

The Aces went up 1-0 without the courtesy of a hit in the third. Thiel walked, moved up on a Lukas Yoder sacrifice bunt, was balked to third and, after a walk to Jake Greer, scored on a Zac Brickel sac fly.

An inning later, three Fort Loramie errors, a wild pitch and a hit-by-pitch contributed to the three-run Hicksville frame in which Thiel had a single for the only hit by the Aces.

Hicksville threatened in the sixth against reliever Nathan Raterman, loading the bases on hits from Thiel and Lukas Yoder and a walk to Brickel, but a pop out to short center field ended the potential rally. After a one-out hit by Ethan Wilhelm in the seventh, the Redskins used a double play to close out the championship victory.


Key stat: While the eight-run inning was obviously the difference, lost opportunities proved costly for Hicksville. The Aces left 10 runners on base in the loss including three in the first and sixth along with two in the fourth.

Player of the game: Just 1-for-4 in the game, Albers came up with the biggest hit of the day when Fort Loramie needed it most. In addition, the senior center fielder had a busy day in the outfield, highlight by the fifth inning when he recorded all three putouts for the Redskins.

Unsung hero: Winning pitcher Raterman not only managed to get Fort Loramie out of the fourth-inning outburst by the Aces, but shut down Hicksville the last three frames. In 3.1 innings, of shutout ball, the left-handed junior surrendered three hits and two walks while fanning one.

D-IV tourney co-MVP: With no “standouts” in both games, the honor is shared by Mescher and Greer. Mescher had a bunt single and scored in the sixth inning of the semifinals to knot up the game with Trinity and the Redskins went on to win it in the seventh. In the finals, the Fort Loramie leadoff hitter drove in the first run in the fifth and scored the tying run in the frame. Meanwhile, Greer did not allow a run in a 4-1 semifinal win over second-ranked Whiteoak, fanning 12 to get the Aces to the finals where he reached base twice on walks after a hit and run in the semifinals.

Third for Redskins: The title marked the third time in a dozen years that Fort Loramie has won state, the others coming in 2007 and 2010. Amazingly, in the past 13 years only five programs have claimed Division IV state titles. Newark Catholic has four in that span, Fort Loramie and Minster three each, Patrick Henry two and Tinora one..

What’s next?: With Greer among those graduating, Hicksville has big shoes to fill. But five key players return in juniors Thiel and Brickel along with sophomores Gipple, Braden Langham and Eric Chapman. … A senior class of four featured only two starters in Siegel and Albers making the Redskins a marked team for 2019.


Hicksville                 001 300 0 - 4 4 1
Fort Loramie            000 080 x - 8 8 3

Records: Fort Loramie 27-6, Hicksville 21-6.

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Raterman (3.1 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 strikeout, 1 walk). Other: Mason Kemper.

Losing Pitcher: Parker Thiel (4.1 innings, 8 runs, 7 earned runs, 8 hits, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk). Other: Gage Yoder.

Leading Hitters: (Hicksville) - Parker Thiel 2 singles, 2 runs; Lukas Yoder single; Ethan Wilhelm single. (Fort Loramie) - Carter Mescher single; Dylan Albers triple, 3 RBIs; CJ Billing single; Eli Rosengarten double, 2 RBIs; Austin Siegel single, triple; Shane Hilgefort 2 singles.