Pioneers squeeze past Golden Eagles, 4-3


The third-seeded Olentangy Orange baseball team landed the first and last blows, taking an early lead before scratching across a run in the bottom of the fifth to secure a 4-3 Division I district semifinal win over visiting and seventh-seeded Big Walnut Monday night in Lewis Center.

The battle of OCC champs — Orange won the Central crown while Big Walnut won the Capital — didn’t disappoint as both showed why they finished the season atop their respective divisions.

Both teams got solid pitching, but the defending state runner-up Pioneers made what proved to be the game-deciding push when Keegan Knupp led off the fifth with a double. Wyatt Lidke pushed him to third with a sacrifice bunt and he scored on another bunt, this time from Mason Woycitzky.

The Golden Eagles got the leadoff man on in sixth via an Eli Couser single. Eli Helton moved the pinch runner to second with a sac bunt of his own, but that’s as far as Jack Rigg made it as Knupp coaxed back-to-back fly outs to end the inning.

Knupp allowed just the three runs, two earned, while striking out three en route to the complete-game win. The only rough patch was the second, when Big Walnut got to him for all three of its runs to take an early 3-2 edge. Orange answered with the equalizer in the third, though, before taking control for good in the fifth.

Eli Couser led BW with two hits while Brady Taylor had two RBI thanks to a two-run single in the second. Nick Weiss suffered the setback on the mound, allowing four runs, three earned, on three hits while striking out six and walking two in six innings of work.

Lidke had two RBI for the Pioneers while James Wimsatt, Knupp and Nick Liberati had the hits.

Next up, Orange will look to win its second straight district title against sixth-seeded Dublin Coffman Wednesday at Olentangy Liberty. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m.


Olentangy Orange’s Kennedy Reed singled to load the bases with two down in the third inning, but Carsyn Cassady got a strikeout to end the threat and, well, didn’t allow a single baserunner the rest of the way as Watkins Memorial rolled to a 10-0, five-inning win in a Division I district championship Saturday in Pickerington.

Cassady, who struck out 13 and walked two in five shutout innings, allowed all three baserunners in the third.

The rest of the Warriors, meanwhile, gave her plenty of help from the dish. They scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back, adding two more in the third and four in the fourth to smooth out the scoring summary.

Also: Lancaster 2, Olentangy Liberty 0.

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