COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cameron Varga started his day with two hopes: to pitch his team into the Ohio Division III championship game and to hear his name called in the first two rounds of Major League Baseball draft.
He hit a home run on both.
The ace right-hander from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy overpowered Orrville with 15 strikeouts in seven innings and kept his unbelievable perfect season – no earned runs allowed, no losses – intact in a 3-0 victory in the state semifinal Thursday afternoon.
A few hours later, the Tampa Bay Rays drafted the 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander in the second round with the 60th overall pick.
Varga might have been a first-rounder but he missed most of the summer showcase circuit with a biceps injury.
"Well-built strong right-handed pitcher out of the Cincinnati area," Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said. "Power fastball, power breaking ball, an advanced ability to pitch. Just a good young power pitching prospect."
Varga has committed to North Carolina, but this might change his college plans.
The Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year is 10-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 141 strikeouts, but even against lower-lever competition, those numbers are spectacular. He set a national high school record by striking out 33 straight batters, which broke the mark of 22 set in 1973.
"I think the competition is a little ... it's one of those private school leagues," Harrison said. "[But] this guy's got good stuff."
RELATED: See Varga's draft profile
CHCA (29-2) will play for the state title against Coldwater (29-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Park. Coldwater edged Wheelersburg 3-2 in 10 innings in their semifinal.
Chase Murray hit two triples, knocked in two runs and scored the other in CHCA's win.
Daniel Vezdos started a two-run third inning with a single, but he was forced out at second after Jon Edelmann bunted.
Edelmann went to second on a wild pitch and took third on Cameron Murray's groundout.
After Ryan Smith walked, Edelmann and Smith scored on Chase Murray's triple.
CHCA finished the scoring in the sixth when Chase Murray tripled again and came home on Kyle Davis' sacrifice fly.
Video highlights by WCPO's Mark Slaughter
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