The Big Walnut baseball team has earned plenty of accolades over the past four seasons. There are three district championships, a regional title and a trip to the state final four at Huntington Park.
There’s been one noticeable trophy missing from that treasure trove in the case, though … an OCC crown.
Canal Winchester helped secure a share of the OCC-Capital title with back-to-back wins over New Albany Wednesday and Thursday.
And the Golden Eagles secured the title outright with a 10-0 win over Groveport-Madison in five innings Friday night in Sunbury.
“We came back after they took care of us up there (Tuesday),” BW coach Jack Schone said. “Our first goal is to win the league … we’ve come up short the last couple of years. But, what a great way to finish the 2018 (regular season).
It’s BW’s first title since 2012.
“It was looking bleak that we were going to win the conference after Tuesday,” senior Noah Sprowls said. “Coming back and beating them 10-0 – especially on Senior Night – just made it that much more special. We didn’t want to share a title with New Albany. It feels so good.”
Colton Lee hit a three-run double and Cale Sherbourne added a three-run homer in a six-run first inning to take the drama out of it early.
Connor Gerren, Austin Krinn and Spowls each had RBI singles with two outs in the third and Sherbourne added a RBI single in the fifth to end the festivities.
Sherborne’s homer caromed off the scoreboard in left. He wasn’t completely sure it had left the yard, so he stopped at second.
“It surprised me,” Sherbourne said. “I made it to second base and (the umpire) told me it was a home run. I was in awe because I thought it just hit off the fence.”
All 12 seniors played. They deserved it. And they rewarded their coach with an outright title.
“We just wanted that conference title,” Sprowls said. “It’s a rare occasion for our school. It’s amazing – I think we’ve accomplished so much since the year began.”
Lee, who put the team in line for a title by pitching a gem against New Albany last week, was masterful again. He scattered five hits and two walks and struck out five over four innings, pitching himself in and out of danger a couple of times.
“He mixes up his speeds really well,” Sprowls said. “He’s a really underrated pitcher. He throws his curveball off his fastball so well that it keeps hitters off-balance. He shuts teams down. He’s been really important to our team this year.”
Sprowls caught him before taking over in the fifth. He worked around a pair of hits, including a liner up the middle that Zach Rines fielded cleanly before firing a throw home to nail a runner before he could even get into his slide.
Sherbourne and Krinn each had three hits to lead the Eagles (14-9, 12-3) with Sherbourne driving in four runs and Krinn adding three RBI.
“Sherbourne came out of nowhere and had a home run and two singles,” Schone said. “What an awesome day for him. He’ll remember that for a while. And Zach Rines throws a guy out at the plate. (That’s) a highlight for him, too. It was an overall great day.”
Connor Gerren had two hits and a walk in three plate appearances, had a stolen base and scored twice to spark the offense from the top of the order.
The only non-senior to get game action was junior Sam Medley, who caught Sprowls in the last inning.
“It was Senior Day,” Schone said. “We got everybody in and everybody hit the ball. It was just a great day.”
Logan Mayes allowed nine runs (five earned) on 11 hits and a pair of walks. He had five strikeouts but took the loss for Groveport.
Logan Marburger and Luis Pantoja each had two hits to lead the Cruisers (13-8, 8-7).
Next up, BW plays a doubleheader at Dublin Jerome today. The Golden Eagles hook up with Pickerington Central at 12:45 p.m. before taking on the host Celtics at 2:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.