All good things must come to an end.
And for the Olentangy Orange baseball team, that end came in a 3-2 loss to Strongsville in the Division I state semifinal Friday night at Hunington Park in Columbus.
The Mustangs’ (25-8) Parker Shannon went 3-for-3, including the game-winning knock — a two-run single in the second inning.
He also scored Strongsville’s first run. He singled in the first, stole second, moved to third on a throwing error and scored on a passed ball.
Orange had to rally in the late innings to nab each of its final four tournament wins — three of which were come-from-behind efforts.
And the Pioneers seemed like they were going to do it again, spotting Strongsville a 3-0 lead by the end of the second inning before cutting the deficit to one in the fifth.
“It was a great ballgame; great job coming back and just so much fun … the entire run,” Orange coach Phil Callaghan said.
While Strongsville was building its lead, pitcher Matt Brosky held the Pioneers hitless through the first four innings and faced just two over the minimum.
Garrett O’Reilly and Tyler Ross worked back-to-back walks to open the Orange fifth.
Cole Callaghan singled in pinch runner Zach Pfeiffer after a Ben Miller sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base.
“Each time we bunt, we’re going for a hit … they did a good job defending the bunt,” Callaghan said. “Cole came up and got the big hit and Schutte followed.”
Jason Schutte came through with a RBI single to cut the Pioneers’ deficit to one run.
Brosky got out of the inning on a fielder’s choice groundout and a flyout.
He went the distance for the Mustangs, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Also, Mitch Midea finished with two hits and a run.
“(Brosky) was exactly what we expected,” Phil Callaghan said. “I think part of it was that we were a little over-anxious. I think late, we got a little settled down and quit jumping at the ball.”
Tyler Brown took the loss for the Pioneers (23-9). He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk over a complete-game, six-inning performance that was highlighted by eight strikeouts.
“He was outstanding,” Phil Callaghan said. “It’s very important we get the first run (with Brown).”
Strongsville plays Massillon Jackson for the state title Saturday at 7 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.