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Posted on 4/10/2018 at 11:00 p.m..

Panthers To Meet Moeller In Reds HS Showcase Wednesday

A pair of one-run victories, the latest a 2-1 win in 10 innings over St. Xavier Monday night at the Panther Athletic Complex, has Elder off to an unbeaten start and holding a half-game lead over Moeller in the Greater Catholic League baseball standings.  Elder and Moeller are set to play on a big stage Wednesday night, facing each other at 5 p.m. as part of a GCL South doubleheader in the Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase at the University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium.  La Salle will oppose St. Xavier in the second game that night, at 7:30.

Elder (7-0, 2-0 GCL South), which takes a night off from league play to travel to Edgewood for a 5 p.m. game today, defeated St. Xavier when senior Drew Kearns worked a bases-loaded walk to score the game-winning run.   Senior Danny Nieman gave the Panthers seven strong innings, allowing just four hits and one unearned run while striking out seven, while junior Clay Hodge picked up the win in relief.   Left-hander Joe Auburger, the Bombers’ junior starter, also turned in an outstanding game, limiting the high-powered Elder offense to only four hits and one run in seven innings.

Before Monday’s extra-inning win, Elder opened league play with a 2-1 victory at La Salle last Friday.  In that game, junior Kyle Klingenbeck started and tossed five shutout innings, earning the win to move to 3-0 this spring.   Hodge threw a scoreless sixth before giving way to junior Aidan Byrne, who overcame two Panther miscues to earn his second save, striking out the final hitter with the potential tying and winning runs on base.  Elder coach Mark Thompson said the combination of Klingenbeck and relievers Hodge and Byrne has been a sensational combination for the Panthers in the early season.

In that game, Elder scored all the runs it would need in the top of the first with seniors Nieman and Max Lenhardt picking up runs batted in for Elder – which has now outscored the opposition, 23-9, in its seven games.  Lenhardt and senior Drew Klaserner, sporting .438 and .410 averages, respectively, have led Elder offensively early in a season that has been slowed by miserable spring weather.  Moeller (6-2, 1-0) should provide a good test for Elder, having won its last two games – including a 6-0 win against La Salle behind a complete-game, eight-strikeout performance from senior Mo Schaffer at Schuler Park on Monday night.

The Crusaders – who got three hits in the game from seniors Tyler McDonough and Cameron Swanger – are 5-0 against teams from Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, their lone setbacks coming against out-of-state teams during a trek over Spring Break last week to Georgia.  Before facing Elder on Wednesday at UC, Moeller travels to defending GCL South champion St. Xavier (3-3, 0-1) at 5 p.m. today.  The Bombers have dropped three of their last four against tough competition, losing to Louisville St. Xavier, Hamilton Badin and then the GCL South opener to Elder .
La Salle (5-3, 0-2) lost its first two GCL South games, with a doubleheader sweep of West Clermont on Sunday wedged in between league contests.  The Lancers do not have a scheduled game today before Wednesday’s GCL South DH in the Reds High School Showcase.  Advance tickets to the DH are available today and Wednesday at the participating schools for $5.  Each ticket is good for both games and includes a voucher good for a free ticket to a select 2018 Reds’ game, along with a coupon good for a free Skyline Chili cheese coney at participating restaurants.

Tickets also will be available at the Marge Schott Stadium Box Office on game day.  The Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase presented by Cincinnati Children’s Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics celebrates is seven-year anniversary this spring, annually showcasing the GCL South in a DH.  Previous GCL South games have been played at either UC or Prasco Park in Mason.  For additional information on the Showcase, visit www.reds.com/hsshowcase.

Posted on 4/2/2018 at 7:56 a.m.

League Teams Have Not Been Slowed By Brutal Spring Weather

The weather has been anything but perfect for the opening of high school baseball this spring, but it hasn’t dampened the spirits – or play – of the four Greater Catholic League South Division teams.  Entering today’s scheduled games, the GCL South is a perfect 7-0 in non-conference games so far, with Elder, La Salle and Moeller each posting 2-0 records, and defending league champion St. Xavier winning the only game it has played to date.

Elder opened the GCL South season with a 5-2 win against Centerville on March 24, the first day of the regular season per Ohio High School Athletic Association rules.  Two days later, all four league teams were in action and posted a combined 4-0 record against the opposition – including a pair of one-run victories by Moeller, 4-3, over Hamilton Badin, and St. Xavier, which opened with a 2-1 win against Milford.  Elder defeated Highlands, one of Northern Kentucky’s top teams, 5-2, while La Salle recorded an 8-0 shutout win against Conner.

Inclement weather prevented the teams from playing again until last Saturday, when Moeller bested Ryle, 3-0, and La Salle defeated Beechwood, 7-3, to give the GCL South a perfect 4-0 mark against Northern Kentucky teams.   Weather permitting, all four are scheduled to play today with St. Xavier hosting Cabell Midland from Ona, West Virginia in a doubleheader slated for 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy in Roselawn.  The Bombers will send Indiana University commit Nathan Kappers to the mound in game one, followed by highly regarded sophomore Wyatt Hudepohl getting the ball in game two.

La Salle travels to Tennessee to face Ensworth at 4:!5 p.m. today, while Badin – a member of the GCL Co-Ed Division and always a solid baseball program – plays Elder at 5 p.m. at the Panther Athletic Complex.  Moeller travels to Kentucky to face Conner at 5 p.m. at UC Health Stadium located just off Interstate 75.  The stadium is home to the Frontier League Florence Freedom.

Posted on 3/28/2018 at 7:58 p.m.

Crusaders Post Impressive Victories To Earn Fourth Crown

A year ago, Moeller came within one made basket of an improbable perfect  season and had to settle for a 28-1 record and runner-up finish at the basketball state tournament.   This year, though, the Crusaders left little doubt during their trip to the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Final Four – posting a pair of impressive victories last weekend to extend their winning streak to 20 games, remain unbeaten in the calendar year and, in the process, earn the school’s fourth state championship in basketball – having also won DI state titles in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

After recording a 51-44 win over Lorain in the state semifinals last Friday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University in Columbus, Moeller turned it up another notch in an 83-65 win the next day over Solon – which finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press DI state poll, one spot ahead of Moeller.  Solon (27-2), which overcame a 12-point deficit against Pickerington Central in the semis, could not overcome Moeller’s tenacious defense, limiting the Comets to just 21-of-61 shooting, while Moeller built a 20-point advantage, outscoring Solon, 64-24, in the pain and shooting 70.8 percent (34-of-48) from the field.

The 65 points are the fewest Solon scored all season.

Senior forward Jeremiah Davenport, who scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds two days earlier against Lorain, had a team-high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds and five assists.  Senior forward Jaxson Hayes added 14 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots, while junior guard Alex Pfriem scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists.  Hayes had a huge game against Lorain in the semis, scoring 16 point, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking three shots.

But perhaps the biggest moment for Moeller’s team at the state tournament was the return of junior guard Miles McBride – who was cleared to play earlier in the week after missing the entire season following a foot injury suffered while playing football for the Crusaders.  McBride, a West Virginia University recruit, came off the bench in both games, scoring two points in limited action against Lorain but then scoring 14 points, sinking 4-of-6 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws in the final.  McBride had 15 points and nine rebounds in Moeller’s 39-38 loss to Massillon Jackson in last year’ state final.

It was quite a season for Moeller, which will lose three starters – Davenport, Hayes and senior forward Carlos Garcia – to graduation.  Davenport, named GCL Co-Player of the Year along with La Salle senior forward Riley Haubner, is signed with Wright State, while Hayes – named the GCL South Defensive Player of the Year after averaging four blocks a game, is signed with Texas.  Moeller finishes with a 27-3 record, with the only three losses coming in December and to schools outside Ohio – Kentucky state champion Covington Catholic, New York Class A state champ Long Island Lutheran and highly regarded Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia.

Posted on 3/17/2018 at 11:44 a.m.

Crusaders Defeat Wayne, Advance To DI Hoops Final Four

A year ago, Moeller entered the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball Division I Final Four just wo wins away from an undefeated season and a state championship, taking a 27-0 record into the state semifinals and ultimately coming within a basket of perfection – falling to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, in the championship game to finish as state runner-up with a 28-1 record.  Moeller is headed back to Columbus again next week and, while the Crusaders have suffered three losses this season, coach Carl Kremer’s team is perfect this calendar year and again just two wins away from a state title.

Moeller earned a second straight Final Four berth Friday night, as seniors Jeremiah Davenport and Jaxson Hayes combined to score 41 points and grab 14 rebounds to help Moeller erase a one-point halftime deficit and defeat Huber Heights Wayne, 65-53, in the regional final at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Moeller (25-3), which has won 18 consecutive games, advances to meet either Lorain or Toledo St. John’s Jesuit (which play today in another regional final) in the state semifinals at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, March 23 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

The state championship is 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.

The Crusaders would like nothing better than to bring home the school’s fourth state basketball championship, also having won DI titles in 1999, 2003 and 2007.  And, if its play in the postseason is any indication, Moeller should have a chance of cutting down the nets eight days from now.  In six postseason games, Moeller has outscored the opposition by an average of 24.5 points, winning all by double figures with only Wayne coming closer than 15 points of the Crusaders.  Wayne ended the regular season ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press DI state poll, just one spot behind Moeller, and finished with a 25-2 record - its other loss at Springfield, 54-47, back on February 9.

Moeller should be plenty prepared to face the best teams from around Ohio, having played a rigorous schedule and capturing the coveted Greater Catholic League South Division championship with a 6-0 record as it did last season too.  The Crusaders have not lost in 2018, and are also unbeaten against teams from Ohio.  Moeller’s three defeats were all in December, to Covington Catholic – which plays today in the Kentucky state semifinals in Lexington and beat the Crusaders, 58-53, and two nationally regarded schools at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Bach, S.C., in Long Island, N.Y. Lutheran, 57-45, and Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia, 47-44.

In the Crusaders’ regional victories against Springfield and Wayne, Moeller has connected on 49-o-79 field goals – including 24-of-42 against Wayne.  The Crusaders, known for their stingy defense and patience on offense, have benefited from balance all season too.  While Davenport and Hayes put up big numbers in the regional final, they received plenty of assistant from junior guard Alec Pfriem – who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.  Senior forward Carlos Garcia added nine points, and senior guard Isaiah Payton had four points, six rebounds and five assists.

Consider, too, that Moeller has played all season without senior guard Miles McBride, who teammates insisted be part of the regional championship photograph following Friday’s victory.  McBride, named first team All-GCL South last year, was a vital part of Moeller’s season a year ago – averaging 10.5 points and ranking among league leaders in assists, steals and field-goal percentage during the regular season.  McBride suffered a season-ending foot injury while playing quarterback for the Crusaders last fall and has not played basketball this season.  He will play collegiately at West Virginia.

Entering the state tournament, Moeller is a combined 53-4 the last two seasons.

Posted on 3/16/2018 at 6:59 a.m.

Crusaders Face Wayne In Regional Final At XU Tonight

A win tonight against Huber Heights Wayne in the regional final of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I Basketball Tournament will continue an impressive run for the Moeller Crusaders.  If victorious, Moeller will extend its winning streak to 18 games, remain perfect in the calendar year and, even more critical, earn the program’s second straight tip to Columbus and the OHSAA DI Final Four.  Moeller made it all the way to the state final last March without a loss before suffering its first defeat to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, to finish as state runner-up.

The Grater Catholic League South Division champions find themselves knocking on the door of another trip up Interstate 71 after a convincing 65-44 victory over Springfield in Wednesday’s regional semifinals at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  Senior forward Jeremiah Davenport led Moeller (24-3) with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists to help his team beat Springfield for the second time this season.  Wayne (25-1) kept its near-perfect season alive with a 56-49 win over short-handed Princeton in the second semifinal.  Wayne’s lone setback this season is to Springfield, 54-47, on the road on February 9.  Since then, the Warriors have won seven consecutive games.

Tipoff is 7:30 tonight at the Cintas Center.

The winner advances to the state semifinals on Friday, March 23 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.  Tipoff is 5:15 p.m., with the second semifinal to follow at 8:30.  The DI state final is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

Against Springfield, a team Moeller defeated, 56-39, on the road on February 3, the Crusaders left little doubt – building a 29-16 halftime advantage and extending the gap to 21 points after three quarters.  Joining Davenport in double figures were senior forward Jaxson Hayes, who had 10 points to go along with  seven re bounds and a team-high five blocked shots, and junior guard Alec Priem, who added 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.   Moeller continued its torrid shooting against Springfield, connecting on 25-of-37 from the field for 67.5 percent.

Wayne will present a tough challenge, though.  The Warriors, like Moeller, have spent time this season ranked at the top of the Associated Press DI state poll.   Wayne finished 11-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division, one game ahead of Springfield in the standings.  And the Warriors have played a difficult schedule, with wins over Trotwood-Madison (90-87), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (68-57), as well as Princeton (72-67) during the regular season.  Wayne is led by senior guard Darius Quisenberry, who averages 18 points, 6.3 assists (second in the GWOC), 5.2 rebounds and three steals.

Quisenberry scored 24 points on 10-15 shooting against Princeton, which was playing its second straight game without seniors Darius Bazley and Dominic Pierce, who were suspended two games by the OHSAA for leaving the bench in the Vikings’ earlier postseason win against Sycamore.  Bazley, a Syracuse signee, was recently named the Southwest District Player of the Year after averaging better than 15 points a game, and leading the Greater Miami Conference in rebounds, assists and blocked shots .  Quisenberry has signed to play at Youngstown State, a member of the Horizon League.  Wayne outs cored Princeton, 31-21, in the second half of its semifinal game.

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