Senior Garrett Wissman sneaked a few glances at the state baseball championship trophy at Chaminade Julienne High School this season. That trophy is 47 years old, but it may soon have some company.
The Eagles (23-4) will play Tallmadge (24-7) in the Division II state championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Park. CJ seeks its first state championship since 1970 when it beat Garfield Heights 6-1 in the Class AA final.
“It would mean everything,” Wissman said. “We haven’t won the state title in forever. We hadn’t been here in forever. So the chance we have right here is pretty special. We don’t get this opportunity often.”
PHOTOS: CJ vs. Steubenville
Wissman hit a first-inning home run and drove in three runs in the 4-3 regional final victory against Columbus DeSales. Then he threw a one-hitter Thursday in the state semifinals, leading CJ past Steubenville 3-0.
CJ will give the ball to junior Ryan Peltier, who hit a solo home run in the first inning Thursday, in the final game of the season.
“I’m pumped,” Peltier said. “I know my team’s going to have my back. Hopefully, we can get an early lead and make it easy for me to pitch. I’ll be ready.”
Wissman (5-0, 1.10 ERA) and Peltier (9-0, 1.06) share the title of ace. That’s one reason the Eagles have advanced to the championship. Every team needs two strong pitchers to get this far.
“We feel real confident in Ryan throwing that second game,” CJ coach Mike Barhorst said. “He’s actually had the best numbers all season. He’s going to give us a great outing. Hopefully, things go right and we score a few runs and win another one.”
Tallmadge advanced with a 4-1 victory against Maumee on Thursday. This is Tallmadge’s sixth final four appearance. It was state runner-up in 2001, 2000, 1996 and 1966. This is its first appearance in the state final four since it won the championship in 2002.
Tallmadge’s roster is dominated by juniors. Five juniors start. Two sophomores start. Only one senior starts. Junior Jared Burick is expected to start on the mound Saturday.
CJ has six seniors on the roster, three of whom start.
“We’ve been working hard all year,” Peltier said. “We’ve got seniors, four-year guys, our captains. It would really mean a lot to them. They got to the regional finals in 2014, their freshman year. It was great for them to get to the final four. It would mean even more for them to win a state title and for all of us, the whole community, not only our players but everybody who chips in for us.”