BARNESVILLE — Coaches all the time need their groups to be enjoying their greatest come match time. D.J. Butler couldn’t be any happier.
After shedding six of the ultimate 10 video games of the common season, the Shamrocks have caught fireplace and are simply two wins away from capturing its first-ever state baseball championship. They’ve reeled off six straight postseason victories, together with a 10-7 verdict over Minford final Saturday afternoon at Beavers Subject in Lancaster within the Division III, Area 11 title tilt.
With the coveted triumph, Butler & Co. are headed to the state match the place they may face Area 12 titlist Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (21-8) at 10 a.m. Thursday on the pure grass floor at Canal Park in Akron. Ought to the Shamrocks (25-7) win, they might additionally play at 10 a.m. Saturday for the state crown towards both Archbold (22-11) and Canton Central Catholic (23-5).
The looks is Barnesville’s second all-time. The 2004 group misplaced to eventual state champion New Albany within the semifinals. Present assistant coach Bryce Allen and Athletic Director Brad Hannahs had been members of that squad.
“That is fairly particular. This group of youngsters is particular,” Butler mentioned. “Not many individuals thought we had been going to superb for the truth that we misplaced seven seniors (to commencement) final yr. 5 of them went on to play school baseball, so there was some thought that we’d be down this season.
“We knew from what we put collectively in the summertime that we had the potential to be an excellent group once more. We thought we might have a fairly good yr, however the guys have exceeded each, and actually, all of our expectations,” Butler remarked. “After we began enjoying video games, I believed we could possibly be fairly good. Then we began placing the whole lot collectively and I actually thought we had an opportunity to do one thing particular.”
And so they have.
Barnesville began its match run with a 16-0 pounding of visiting Newcomerstown after which dispatched Fort Frye, 9-2, within the co-sectional ultimate. The Shamrocks nipped top-seeded Tuscarawas Valley, 2-1, within the district semifinals earlier than avenging a pair of regular-season setbacks to Martins Ferry with a 6-3 nod for the district title. A marathon, 3-2, choice in 12 innings over Fredericktown within the regional semifinals set the stage for Saturday’s victory.
All instructed, Barnesville has outscored the opposition 46-15 within the postseason. Add in tuneup video games with Indian Creek (8-4) and St. Clairsville (8-2) give the Shamrocks an eight-game successful streak.
Ayden Hannahs, certainly one of three seniors on the group, will get the ball on Thursday. He’s the ace of a deep pitching employees with 5 wins in six choices. His ERA is 1.79 and he has struck out 71 batters and walked 24 in 54-plus innings of labor.
“This group is particular,” Hannahs mentioned. “If any group can do that, it’s this one. Figuring out that individuals didn’t suppose an excessive amount of of us this season actually motivated us, truly. We knew what we had been able to doing, and that’s all that mattered.”
Butler couldn’t be any extra pleased with the way in which his seniors have carried out. Along with Hannahs, the others are Jake Edwards and Brady Wildes.
“The three seniors are big leaders. Ayden, clearly, is the outspoken one, whereas Jake doesn’t say quite a bit. He leads by instance. Brady is the last word group member. He is aware of his position. He’s performed loads of pitching, leads the group in appearances and might be second or third in innings pitched. However when he’s not within the recreation, he’s the primary one to congratulate certainly one of his teammates. He offers the whole lot he has,” Butler praised. “We’ve bought eight juniors and so they all contribute not directly.”
Hannahs, a second group all-Ohio outfield, leads off for the Shamrocks. He’s hitting a team-best .421 with 47 hits, 37 runs scored, 20 walks, 16 stolen bases and a pair of triples — all group highs. He has additionally pushed in 21 runs and solely struck out 5 instances.
“He’s the catalyst. We go as he goes,” Butler mentioned of Hannahs.
“We flirted a bit with him within the three spot (within the order) to begin the season as a result of he has good gap-to-gap energy, however we’re a greater group with him main off.
“He’s a really good baserunner and he reads the pitcher in addition to anyone,” Butler continued. “He will get an incredible soar so we belief him to make good choices like he did towards Fredericktown the opposite night time when he stole house with two outs within the first inning.”
His versatility allowed the Shamrocks to maneuver him into the infield.
“Our three outfielders are very quick, so we thought we might transfer Ayden into second base and it’s labored to date,” Butler mentioned.
Junior Jeremy Hunkler bats second and performs shortstop. He’s batting .317 with 32 hits, 28 RBI, 31 runs scored, 18 base-on-balls and a dozen stole bases.
“Jeremy has had an exceptional season. His glove is excellent. I feel he solely has 4 errors on the yr, and three of them got here in a single recreation,” Butler mentioned. “He’s been stable all yr defensively, and is hitting about .320. I don’t wish to say his bat has been a shock as a result of I knew he was able to hitting, however with him actually being a first-time varsity starter we actually didn’t understand how he would modify.
“His bat management is nice. He doesn’t strike out a lot. He places the ball in play and forces the opponents to make the performs.”
Edwards is the Shamrocks No. 2 hurler and begins at first base when not on the hill. He bats third and has a .396 common with 44 hits, 29 runs batted in and a team-leading six doubles. It was his two-bagger that drove in two runs in a six-run fourth towards Minford.
“Jake’s been excellent. He performed some as a freshman and began as a sophomore however missed all of final season resulting from COVID, so we didn’t understand how he would come out of that. He had an excellent summer season and it carried over for him,” Butler lauded.
“He struggled on the mound (within the regionals) however he didn’t let it get to him. He took that inside pitch, saved his arms in and bought the barrel of the bat on the ball, driving it down the road,” Butler recalled of Edwards’ key hit.
Edwards is 6-1 on the hill with a save in 40-and-one-third innings. He has fanned 44 and walked 14 with a 1.56 ERA.
Junior Gavin Carpenter is the third baseman and aid pitcher. He’s hitting .355 and earned the win towards Minford with five-plus innings of labor.
“He had a bit droop on the plate about halfway by means of the season, however he’s seeing the ball rather well proper now and it’s exhibiting,” Butler allowed. “He’s a greater reliever and Jake (Edwards) is a greater starter. That’s the way in which we figured we’d go within the postseason and it has labored.”
Carpenter is tied with Edwards for the group lead in runs batted in with 29. He has 33 hits, together with 5 doubles. He’s additionally 5-1 on the mound with a 3.39 ERA. He has 39 strikeouts in 33 innings.
Junior catcher Kyvan Johnson bats fifth and has been a pleasing shock.
“Unbelievable job this yr,” Butler famous. “I all the time knew he had it in him however to look him actually flourish this yr has been good. He has caught almost each inning for us. He’s about 40 % at throwing runners out. He has an excellent launch, however his accuracy is nice. The ball is all the time on the bag.
“He’s additionally been regular on the plate. He began out actually, actually scorching after which cooled off, however he’s getting again within the groove.”
Johnson is hitting .279 with 24 hits, 16 RBI and has scored a dozen runs.
Junior Logan Shepherd bats sixth and serves because the designated hitter. He was the hero of the elongated win over Fredericktown with a game-winning single within the backside of the twelfth. He’s batting .272 with 25 hits and a like variety of runs batted in. He has scored 14 instances.
“He’s regular. He went by means of a stretch the place he was 1-for-3 in about 10 straight video games,” Butler mentioned of Shepherd. “He’s all the time going to have good at-bats. He by no means will get down on himself. In opposition to Fredericktown he was 0-for-5 however delivered when it counted.”
Junior Kason Powell is within the seventh spot and performs second base when Hannahs pitches and third when Carpenter is on the hill
“He’s streaky however when he’s hitting it, he’s hitting the gaps,” Butler famous. “Even when he’s not getting base hits he’s not a strikeout candidate. He can put the ball in play and is de facto good at hitting behind the runners.”
Powell is hitting .269 with 25 hits, 15 runs scored and 13 pushed in.
“He was a more in-depth initially of the yr when the video games had been spaced out a bit extra, however he can do both. He may also play second or third for us.”
Powell is 4-1 with a pair of saves. He has struck out 26 batters in 31-plus innings and has crafted a 1.12 ERA.
Sophomore C.J. Hannahs bats eighth and performs proper area. He’s batting .292 with 19 hits, 10 RBI and a team-best eight sacrifice hits.
“Lightning-fast. He runs down balls within the outfield along with his pace,” Butler mentioned of C.J. “It took him a short while to catch as much as varsity pitching, however now that he has, his method on the plate is he likes fastballs early. If he sees one, he jumps on it. He’s one other one which we use to bunt. He leads the group in sacrifices.”
Junior Spencer Bliss performs left area and is a key on the backside of the lineup.
“One other leadoff hitter within the No. 9 spot. He was splitting time with Ayden within the outfield, however with desirous to get Colton (Hines) in middle turned out to be an excellent transfer by our teaching employees.”
Bliss is batting .333 with 20 hits, 19 runs scored and 9 stolen bases.
Junior Colton Hines is the centerfielder and might monitor down balls within the gaps with the most effective of them.
Junior Noah Strauss has been used as a pinch hitter of late. He’s hitting .333.
“He began loads of video games defensively, then his bat bought scorching,” Butler mentioned. “We simply occur to have loads of guys with the identical ability units which can be enjoying the identical positions, or he would in all probability be beginning extra.”
Wildes is 4-3 on the mound with 46 Ks in 44-plus innings.
Rounding out the roster are sophomore Corbin Clever and freshmen Duker Castello, Aydon VanHorn, Skyler King, Taison Starr, Reese Stephen, Colevin Robb and Jaxon Wiley.
The teaching employees contains, along with the aforementioned Allen, Jeff Miller and Joel Atkinson who serves as a group statistician.
“Our teaching employees is phenomenal. Bryce’s baseball IQ is de facto excessive. Jeff has been with me from the start and his baseball IQ is off the charts,” Butler famous. “Having Bryce to depend on in relating a few of the issues the 2004 group did or issues that may’ve performed completely different has actually helped.
“Joel’s (Atkinson) position has diminished with him having youngsters enjoying now, however he serves as our statistician. I nonetheless bounce concepts off of him every now and then. He additionally works with our pitchers in the course of the offseason.”
So far as CHCA goes, Butler hasn’t had a lot luck to find out a lot concerning the Eagles, who might be making their fourth all-time look. They had been runnersup in 2014 to Coldwater and have additionally certified in 2005 and 2017.
“Their pitching is great. They form of appear to be a mirror picture of us, Butler admitted. “They appear to have about the identical measurement youngsters as us and so they appear to depend on their pitching. It doesn’t appear to be they’ve scored loads of runs from trying again at their scores. It additionally appears that they’ve performed loads of shut video games.”
Butler wished to thank everybody for all of the assist his group has obtained alongside the match path.
“I feel they mentioned they offered five-hundred-and-eighty-some tickets for the sport at Muskingum on Friday, and I wager we (Barnesville) accounted for 400-or-more. On Saturday, we had been instructed that simply Barnesville followers, there have been greater than 500 (tickets) offered,” Butler mentioned. “The neighborhood assist has been excellent. My telephone has been ringing off the hook from individuals desirous to know what they’ll do for the youngsters.
“It’s been superior.
“Mayor Bunting loves Barnesville. Every part he does has Barnesville in thoughts. The remainder of the neighborhood simply rallies round something related to the varsity.”
— Barnesville would be the visiting group Thursday. Nevertheless, ought to it make the finals, it will be the house group.
— The Shamrocks have set a brand new school-record with 25 wins. The previous mark was 22.
— Barnesville practiced on the grass floor at Mazeroski Subject inside Sally Buffalo Park in Cadiz on Tuesday.
— Archbold has solely made one state match look, however made probably the most of it with a championship in 2005.
– Canton Central Catholic is making its seventh look. It has claimed titles in 2008, 2011 and 2015.
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