The top-seeded Olentangy Liberty baseball team used small ball to get big results, especially early, scoring all its runs in the first three innings en route to a convincing 8-2 Division I district championship win over 22nd-seeded DeSales Thursday night in Lewis Center.
After a 1-2-3 first inning, the Patriots didn’t take long to strike in the bottom half. Mason Onate led things off with a single, promptly stole second and third on the next two pitches and scored the game’s first run on an RBI single off the bat of Blake Hajjar.
Connor Mick singled home Brock Amelung a few batters later to make it a 2-0 game.
Liberty only added to its lead from there. The Patriots plated four in the second as Onate came through with a clutch two-run double after Noah Mathis, Zach Meyer and Anderson Gomez loaded the bases with back-to-back-to-back singles.
Two outs later, Mick connected on a two-run single to balloon the lead to 6-0 and seemingly all but seal the deal.
Liberty added two more insurance runs in the third before DeSales plated its two in the fifth to smooth out the scoring summary.
Onate led the charge, finishing 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Mick, meanwhile, was 2-for-3 with three knocked in while Mathis and Gomez had two hits apiece.
Parker Van Engelenhoven picked up the complete-game win on the mound, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking just two.
Luke Bailey and Anthony Pickford knocked in the Stallions’ runs.
Next up, Liberty will take on a familiar foe, Olentangy Orange, in Thursday’s regional semifinal in Grove City. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. The Patriots and Pioneers met three times in the regular season, with the Patriots taking all three.
Olentangy Orange 7, Pickerington North 1
Tyler Fuller connected on a pinch-hit, three-run triple to break things open in the fifth inning as the seventh-seeded Pioneers cruised to a Division I district championship over the 10th-seeded Panthers Wednesday night in Grove City.
Already up 4-0 thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Diego Astacio, Orange loaded the bases with two down after Gabe Miller and Evan Eichel worked backed-to-back walks.
After looking at a first-pitch strike, Fuller jumped on the next one, sending a bases-clearing triple to left to balloon the lead to 7-0.
Orange controlled things from the start. After Jacob Tabor struck out the side in the top of the first, the Pioneers broke the scoring seal in the bottom half when Cole Cahill sent a solo homer over the right-field fence.
Cahill made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the third, and Orange scored on an error later in the inning to take a 3-0 lead into the fourth.
North scratched across its lone run in the seventh, but couldn’t get any closer as Orange advanced to next Thursday’s regional semifinal against Liberty.
Cahill led the Pioneers at the dish, finishing a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Other standouts included Fuller, who had his triple with three knocked in; Ian Dando, who had a pair of hits; and Astacio, who had a hit, a run and an RBI.
The offense was good, but Tabor was even better, allowing just one hit while striking out 12 en route to the complete-game win on the mound.
Brett Madison took the loss for the Panthers, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out two and walking two in four innings of action.
Harry Kreinbrink had North’s lone hit.