OCC-champion Patriots, Bears finishing strong


The OCC-Central Division champion Olentangy Liberty baseball team continues to cruise, most recently edging a solid Grove City team, 3-2, in non-league action Thursday night in Powell.

After answering the Greyhounds’ second- and fourth-inning runs with single tallies in the bottom halves, the Patriots (22-3) manufactured what proved to be the game-winner in the sixth.

Blake Hajjar singled to get things started and, after going first to third on a groundout, scored the deciding run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Connor Mick.

Hajjar an Mick led Liberty with two hits apiece.

Anderson Gomez picked up the win on the mound, tossing two innings of scoreless relief. He struck out a pair and didn’t give up a baserunner.

Next up, the Patriots are slated to take on visiting Hilliard Darby in today’s final regular-season tuneup before postseason play gets underway next week.

Liberty, the top seed in the Division I district tournament, will play the winner of 28th-seeded Whetstone and 41st-seeded Mifflin in Wednesday’s second round. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. in Powell.

Olentangy Berlin 6, Hilliard Darby 0

The Bears put the finishing touches on their first OCC-Cardinal Division championship in program history, blanking visiting Darby Thursday in Delaware.

Berlin (19-7, 12-3) was balanced as can be, scoring runs in each of its first four trips to the plate.

Starting pitcher Taylor Bednar and the defense took care of the rest. Bednar allowed just two hits en route to the complete-game shutout, striking out six and walking three while the Bear defense played errorless ball behind him.

Ascher Dent and Nate Hurley led the charge from the dish, finishing with a pair of hits apiece. Dent drove in a game-best two runs while Hurley and Jared Moeller had one RBI apiece.

Ninth-seeded Berlin will open tournament play against the winner of 36th-seeded Chillicothe and 44th-seeded Groveport-Madison Wednesday in Delaware.

Delaware Hayes 10, Elgin 0, 6 inn.

The Pacers (15-10), already up big, poured it on with five sixth-inning runs en route to a lopsided non-league win over the visiting Comets Thursday in Delaware.

Preston Simon finished a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI while Eyan Teegardin and Dalton Allen had two hits and two RBI apiece.

Tank Tompkins, meanwhile, earned the complete-game win on the mound. He allowed just four hits while striking out nine and walking two in six innings of work.

With the regular season behind them, the 21st-seeded Pacers turn their attention to the postseason. They’ll open against 27th-seeded and visiting Westerville Central Monday in Delaware. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Olentangy Orange 11, Kenton Ridge 3

Diego Astacio finished 4-for-4 with two runs and four RBI as the Pioneers dropped visiting Kenton Ridge Thursday in Lewis Center.

Orange scored four first-inning runs before adding three more in the second to take a commanding 7-2 lead early. The Pioneers added two more in the third and two in the sixth to smooth out the scoring summary.

Tyler Fuller, James Wimsatt, Evan Eichel and Keegan Knupp backed Astacio with two hits apiece while Fuller scored a game-best three runs.

Jacob Tabor earned the win on the mound, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out eight over five innings.

Orange, the seventh seed in the upcoming D-I district tourney, opens the postseason against either 37th-seeded Big Walnut or 42nd-seeded Marion Harding Wednesday in Lewis Center.

New Albany 5, Big Walnut 3

The Golden Eagles scored a pair of first-inning runs to take control early, but the host Eagles scored five of the next six down the stretch to notch a non-league win Thursday in New Albany.

Drew Gaskins led BW in the setback, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored.

Next up, Big Walnut will host Marion Harding in the first round of the Division I district tournament Monday in Sunbury.

Also: Teays Valley 14, Buckeye Valley 6.

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