Senior pitcher Tyler Brown tossed a complete-game shutout to lead the Olentangy Orange baseball team to a 5-0 victory over Hilliard Darby in the Division I regional semifinal Friday afternoon at Dublin Coffman High School.
Brown bent at times, allowing a runner to reach in five of the seven innings, but the only thing that broke was his off-speed pitches.
“That’s what you expect when he throws … just outstanding today,” Orange coach Phil Callaghan said. “He had his fastball and his breaking ball going.”
Meanwhile, Brown’s battery-mate Zach Stiteler provided the big blow from the plate – a two-run double in the fifth inning to give the Pioneers (22-8) a 3-0 lead.
The next batter, Logan Moss, followed with a sacrifice fly to push it to 4-0.
Cole Callaghan led the Pioneers with three hits, including a one-out single in the third. Jason Schutte followed with a single.
The runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, but an errant throw to third allowed Callaghan to score to give Orange a 1-0 lead.
“I think the biggest key was getting the first run,” Callaghan said. “That was big to get on the board.”
Zach Pfeiffer scored the final run on a double steal in the seventh. Tyler Ross stole second on the play.
Meanwhile, Darby had a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings and another in the seventh, but couldn’t push across a run.
Ben Gbur singled in the second and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Brown came back with back-to-back strikeouts to thwart the scoring bid.
Daniel Bibler was hit by a pitch to lead off the third and moved to second on a Tyler Chumita sacrifice, but he was stranded. Brown got a strikeout and a grounder back to the mound to end the frame.
Nick Pizutti singled and Luke Morris worked a walk – each with two outs – to keep the Panthers’ hopes alive with two outs in the seventh.
But, Brown got a called third strike – his ninth strikeout overall – to end the game.
“Realizing that I had eight other brothers behind me was the best feeling … just being able to settle in knowing everybody is playing as hard as they can,” Brown said. “We’re all playing for each other. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask for.”
He allowed four hits, two walks and a hit-batter to pick up the win for the Pioneers.
Cory Brooks took the loss for the Panthers (26-4). He allowed five runs (three earned) on 11 hits and two walks and struck out five batters.
Orange takes on Gahanna Lincoln in the regional final Saturday at 5 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.