Posted 6/3/2016 at 10:22 a.m.

Lancers Rally To Beat Solon In Seventh, Earn Berth In Saturday’s Final

La Salle continued its celebration of 50 years of baseball at the school in grand style Thursday, rallying from a 4-2 deficit in the fifth inning to tie the game in the sixth and then to score the game’s winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 5-4 victory over Solon in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state semifinals at Huntington Park in Columbus.

The victory moves La Salle one win away from the school’s first state baseball championship.  The Lancers (25-7), who have now won seven straight games, advance to meet Pickerington North (22-9) in the title game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Park.  Pickerington North scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Cleveland St. Ignatius, 5-3, in Thursday’s second semifinal.

Earlier this school year, La Salle successfully defended its Division II state football championship.  The Lancers last appeared in the state baseball final back in 1995, losing to Canton GlenOak, 9-4, in the state title game.  La Salle, coached by Willy Corbett that year, finished with a 23-9 record and defeated Toledo Start, 2-1, in the state semifinals.

Senior right-hander Jacob Kaiser gave La Salle another strong performance, going the distance and allowing five hits and striking out sixth to improve his record to 10-1 this season and 15-1 in his varsity career.  The University of Charleston commit, named Greater Catholic League South Division Pitcher of the Year, is now 5-0 in the postseason – having allowed just six runs in 34 innings.

Before facing La Salle, Solon (25-5) had allowed only one postseason run.

La Salle tied the game in the sixth on a successful suicide squeeze bunt from senior Tim Casey, the GCL South Player of the Year.  In the bottom of the seventh, junior Brady Reynolds and senior Kevin Browne each drew walks to start the inning.  Junior Micah Allen sacrificed the two into scoring position and, with senior catcher Jon Hambrick at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Reynolds to score the game-winning run.

Allen will likely get the ball for the Lancers against Pickerington North.  Allen, La Salle’s No. 2 starter, was solid in his last outing – pitching La Salle to an 8-1 victory over Northmont.  Voegele said the complete-game performance was Allen’s best outing of the season, which also included a pair of wins over GCL South competition during the regular season.  Allen is 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA on the season.

Tickets to the state final are $8 and available at the Huntington Park Box Office.  There is no pre-sale for games in the state baseball tournament.  La Salle is vying to give the GCL South its second straight state crown and fourth in the last five years.  Moeller won state titles in 2012, 20-13 and 2015.  Hamilton Badin (22-10), a member of the GCL Co-Ed Division, plays for the Division II state crown against Defiance (28-2) at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Posted on 6/2/2016 at 10:12 a.m.

Lancers To Face Solon In Division I Semifinals This Afternoon

La Salle looks to continue its postseason dominance when it meets Solon in the semifinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Baseball Tournament at 4 p.m. today at Huntington Park in Columbus.  The Lancers are riding a six-game winning streak, including victories over five teams in the playoffs by a combined score of 29-3, heading into their first Final Four appearance since 1995.

Coach Joe Voegele’s team, celebrating the school’s 50-year anniversary of its baseball program this season, has combined outstanding starting pitchers, solid defense and a timely offense into one of the best seasons in school history.  The Lancers captured the Greater Catholic League South Division championship outright and now can keep the state title trophy in the league for the second straight year and fourth time in five years.

GCL South rival Moeller won state titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Senior right-hander Jacob Kaiser is one reason the Lancers have a legitimate shot at state.  Kaiser is 9-1 this season after going a perfect 4-0 in the postseason – having only allowed two runs in 27 innings.  Kaiser, who is 14-1 in his varsity career, shut down Milford’s talent-laden offense in La Salle’s 7-1 win over the Eagles in the regional final last Friday at the University of Cincinnati.

Offensively, La Salle (24-7) boasts two of the top three hitters in the GCL South in Tim Casey (.457 average ranks second), named the GCL South Player of the Year, and Tyler Wardwell (.416, which is third).  Kevin Browne and Griffin Merritt are in the top two spots in the league for RBI, with 28 and 26, respectively.  Micah Allen, the Lancers’ No. 2 starting pitcher behind Kaiser with four victories, was fifth in RBI with 21.

Solon (25-4) won the Canton regional with a 10-0 victory over Stow in the final last Friday.  Cleveland St. Ignatius (22-10) meets Pickerington North (21-9) in today’s second semifinal, at 7 p.m.  The winners will play for the state championship at 1 p.m. Saturday.  Tickets to today’s game are $8 and are available at the Huntington Park Box Office.  There is no pre-sale for the state tournament.

Posted on 5/31/2016 at 8:45 a.m.

Panthers Defeat League Rival Moeller In GCL South Final

It was quite an impressive Sunday for the Elder volleyball team, which swept two of the state’s pre-eminent powers – Centerville in the semifinals and then Greater Catholic South Division rival Moeller in the final – to capture the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association Division I state championship for the sixth time in the program’s history, and the second crown in three years – having also won state in 2014.

Elder defeated Centerville in straight sets in the semifinals early Sunday, and then got past Moeller, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 in the championship match to win its third state title since 2010.  Moeller, which tied Elder and St. Xavier at 4-2 for the regular-season GCL South crown, was extended to a five-set match to defeat Hilliard Darby in the semifinals and earn a shot at Elder in the championship round at Capital University in Greater Columbus.

Coach Sean Tierney’s team reeled off five victories in the postseason to finish 23-6 and win the state title.  Four of Elder’s losses during the regular season were to the two teams it swept Sunday, having fallen in four sets to Centerville back on March 29, and then losing three of four matches against Moeller – including two in three days on April 28, a five-setter, and April 30.

The Panthers closed the season by winning 11 of 12 matches, including its final seven.

Posted on 5/28/2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Kaiser Tosses Three-Hitter To Help La Salle Earn Trip To Columbus

Senior right-hander Jacob Kaiser continued his postseason stinginess, limiting a talent-laden Milford offense to just three hits in a complete-game performance to help La Salle to a 7-1 victory Friday evening in the Ohio High School Athletic Association regional championship at the University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium.  The victory earns La Salle (24-7) its first berth in the Division I state semifinals since 1995.  The Lancers meet Solon at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at Huntington Park in Columbus.

Kaiser is now 9-1 this season and 4-0 in the postseason, having allowed just two runs in 27 innings.  The University of Charleston commit, who was named the Greater Catholic League South Division Pitcher of the Year this season, again had solid defense behind him against a Milford offense that put up 19 runs in a regional semifinal win over Bellefontaine one day earlier.  The Lancers turned three double plays Friday and, in the process, snapped Milford’s 11-game winning streak.

The game was tied 1-1 into the fifth inning, when La Salle junior shortstop Tyler Wardwell connected on a two-run double to put the Lancers up 3-1.  La Salle got a two-out bases-clearing double from sophomore infielder Griffin Merritt in the sixth to extend the margin to 6-1.  That was good enough for coach Joe Voegele’s team to notch its sixth consecutive victory, having outscored opponents, 29-3, in five postseason games.  

La Salle certainly is celebrating its 50-year baseball anniversary in style this season.  The Lancers won the GCL South Division championship outright, finishing with an impressive 7-2 league record – one game ahead of defending state champion Moeller.  The Lancers, in fact, are vying to give the GCL South back-to-back state titles and five in the last six seasons.  Moeller also won state crowns in 2012 and 2013.

The win over Milford (28-3) by La Salle also avenged a 1-0 loss to the Eagles in the season opener back on March 26.

Posted on 5/27/2016 at 10:02 a.m.

Lancers Defeat Northmont, Earn Rematch With Talented Milford

La Salle continued its postseason run Thursday night, combining another good pitching performance with solid defense and timely offense to defeat Clayton Northmont, 8-1, in an Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I regional semifinal game at University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium.  The win, La Salle’s fifth in a row, earns coach Joe Voegele’s team a matchup with Milford in the regional final at 5 p.m. today at UC.  The winner earns a trip to the OHSAA State Final Four that begins next Thursday in Columbus.

The game is a rematch of the season opener for both teams, a game Milford won 1-0 way back on March 26 on its home field.  The Eagles advanced to the regional final with a 19-9 win in five innings over Bellfontaine in the first game at UC Thursday.  The Eagles took an early 10-0 lead, only to have to wait through a 75-minute delay caused by lightning and rain, before ending the game after scoring seven runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.  Milford (28-2) enters today’s reginal final having won 11 consecutive games.

Against Northmont, La Salle (23-7) got a complete-game performance from junior Micah Allen – who ook a shutout into the seventh inning before Northmont scored its lone run.  The Lancers’ offense, which has now scored 18 runs in its last two games, was led by sophomore Griffin Merritt, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI, and junior Tyler Wardwell, who was 2-of-3 and drove in two runs.  La Salle has now outscored its postseason opponents, 22-2, and has not allowed more than one run in the four games.

The regional final is a matchup of two of Grater Cincinnati top pitchers in senior Jacob Kaiser of La Salle and senor Kyle Ruehlman of Milford.  Both take 8-1 records into today’s game and are coming off outstanding performances in the postseason.  Kaiser, who is 3-0 in three playoff starts and has allowed only one run, went the distance in La Salle’s 10-0 win over Hamilton in Monday’s district final.  Ruehlman tossed a complete-game, five-hitter in Milford’s 3-1 win over Springboro – the state’s No.-3 ranked Division I team, in the district final.

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