Moeller Baseball Keeps State Three-peat Hopes Alive

06/01/2014

Posted on 06/01/2014 at 9:00am

A day after hitting a two-run double to help lead Moeller over Beavercreek in the regional semifinals, junior Joe Vranesic was at it again Saturday against Mason in the Division I, Region 4 championship played at the University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium.

Vranesic, a junior designated hitter, snapped a scoreless tie with a run-scoring single in the top of the fourth inning, was later hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth to produce what turned out to be the winning run, and then recorded the save by getting the final three outs in the bottom of the inning to help Moeller to a 4-3 victory in nine innings and a third straight berth in the state baseball tournament .

Moeller (25-4), winners of seven games in a row, advances to meet Massillon Jackson (24-5) in the state semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday at Huntington Park in Columbus. Gahanna Lincoln (17-12) will oppose North Royalton (21-7) in Friday’s first semifinal, at 10 a.m.  The state championships game is 4 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Park.

Coach Tim Held’s Crusaders are vying to win their third consecutive Division I state crown, fourth in the last six seasons and eighth overall – the first coming back in 1973.  But it wasn’t easy against Mason, which ends its season at 25-5 after falling for the first time in May.  The Comets, who tied the game at 3 with a run in the bottom of the seventh, entered the game riding a 14-game winning streak, including a perfect 13-0 record in May.

Sophomore Kyle Butz, sophomore Bryan Soth and senior Cole Proia each collected two of Moeller’s 10 hits Saturday en route to winning the regional crown for the 11th time in school history.  Sophomore Nick Bennett picked up the victory in relief, moving his record to 4-2 this season.