COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Madeira baseball team is well aware of what’s at stake this week when it leaves Thursday afternoon for the state Final Four at Huntington Park in Columbus.
“We are going through our daily routine preparing a little extra for things that may happen at state games because the competition tends to be a little bit better and the scores are closer,” Mustangs coach Scott Stocker said. “But, we are keeping it quiet about it.”
Madeira (21-6) plays Canfield South Range (16-15) in the Division III state semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Huntington Park in Columbus. The winner plays either Coldwater (25-6) or Minford (24-2) in the state final at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Thursday is Madeira’s first state baseball tournament appearance since 2011 when the Mustangs were the Division III state runner-up.
Madeira also made state tournament appearances in 2007, 2002 and was the Division III state champion in 1999.
South Range is making its first state baseball tournament appearance. The Raiders have hit only one home run this season but rely on all parts of the batting order for offensive production, according to the Youngstown Vindicator.
The Mustangs have relied on 10 or 11 upperclassmen this spring, including senior infielder/pitcher Patrick Thatcher and senior infielder/pitcher Sam Wirsing who’ve exhibited excellent leadership.
Thatcher is hitting .440 with 42 runs scored, 11 doubles, four triples, 25 RBI and 17 steals. Wirsing is hitting .306 with eight doubles, 19 RBI and eight steals. Junior outfielder/pitcher Matt Megois is hitting .477 with 41 hits, nine doubles, six triples, five home runs, 38 RBI and 14 steals.
Stocker didn’t say who will start on the mound Thursday night, but junior Tyler Sullivan is a good possibility with a 4-1 record, 1.02 earned-run average and 62 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Mason is ready for Columbus
Mason (26-5) plays Whitehouse Anthony Wayne (26-4) in a Division I state baseball semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at Huntington Park.
“It’s really, really special,” Mason coach Curt Bly said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys (to advance to state).”
Mason, which is scheduled to be the visiting team Friday, is led by several players, including senior third baseman/pitcher Nick Northcut, who was named the Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year on Tuesday. Northcut is hitting .374 with 34 hits, 34 runs, 10 doubles, three home runs, 24 RBI and six stolen bases. He has a .512 on-base percentage.
Other offensive leaders include junior catcher Joe Powell (.409) and junior J.P. Sponseller (.404 with a team-leading 33 RBI).
Mason senior Will Pfenning is expected to start on the mound. He is 9-0 with 109 strikeouts and 1.15 ERA in 60.2 innings.
Whitehouse Anthony Wayne is making its first state baseball tournament appearance. The Generals are coached by Mark Nell, a 1978 Princeton High School graduate, according to the Toledo Blade.
Friday’s winner plays either Medina Highland (19-9) or Powell Olentangy Liberty (28-4) in the state final at 4 p.m. Saturday.