Posted: 5:47 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Coldwater matched against 2-time defending state champs


Coldwater matched against 2-time defending state champs photo
Bill Garlow
Brian Harlamert

By Marc F. Pendleton

Staff Writer

Coldwater already has eliminated the state’s No. 1 team. If the Cavaliers are to win another state baseball title, they’ll next have to topple the proven champions.

Coldwater (28-4) plays two-time defending Division III state champion Wheelersburg (24-6) in a D-III state semifinal at 7 p.m. today at Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers. The winner advances to Saturday’s 1 p.m. final there against today’s other semifinal winner between Orrville (18-11) and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (28-2).

Midwest Athletic Conference rival St. Henry and Coldwater were 1-2 in the state all season as voted by the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association. But it was the Cavaliers who were tops when it mattered most, beating the Redskins 7-3 late in the regular season and 4-0 in a district final.

It marks the 19th time Coldwater has advanced to the state final four. Only Cincinnati Elder has more appearances, 20. The Cavaliers advanced to Columbus most recently in 2009 and have won five state championships, the last in 1992 and ’90.

Coldwater also has won 28 MAC titles, 25 district titles and 19 regional titles and has been the state runner-up three times.

“Our program speaks for itself,” said Cavaliers head coach Brian Harlamert.

Coldwater has beaten Paulding, Parkway, St. Henry, Fredericktown and Huron (regional final) in the postseason by a combined 27-5.

Harlamert, a Coldwater graduate, is in his 17th season as head coach (367-113 overall record). A four-year starter in baseball at the University of Dayton, he still retains many Flyers offensive records and two years ago was inducted into the UD athletic hall of fame.

Wheelersburg is making its sixth appearance in the final four in the last eight years.

“We’re almost mirror images of each other,” Harlamert said. “We both like to run and play small ball and our pitchers all throw strikes.”

Senior four-year starter Mitch Heyne (.359) has been key for the Cavs. Other three-year starters include football standout Brody Hoying (.371), Malave Bettinger (.444) and Aaron Harlamert (.344), the coach’s son.

Junior right-handed pitcher Derek Thobe (5-0, 2.63 ERA) will start for the Cavs. He leads the team in innings (47.2) and strikeouts (49).

“There’s not one player that’s above anyone else,” Brian Harlamert said. “It’s the program. That’s why we’re still playing.”

Divisions III and IV semifinals are today; Divisions I and II on Friday. All of Saturday’s state title games will air on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel 311 (1311 HD) on Sunday, including the D-III game at noon.