Baseball: Southeastern blanks Troy Christian 3-0 to advance to D-IV district final

Southeastern High School sophomore shortstop Gehrig Cordial attempts to throw the ball to first base after making contact with Troy Christian's Camden Koukol during a Division IV district semifinal game on Monday, May 23, 2022, at Troy High School's Market Street Field. The Trojans won 3-0. Contributed photo by Michael Cooper

Combined ShapeCaption
Southeastern High School sophomore shortstop Gehrig Cordial attempts to throw the ball to first base after making contact with Troy Christian's Camden Koukol during a Division IV district semifinal game on Monday, May 23, 2022, at Troy High School's Market Street Field. The Trojans won 3-0. Contributed photo by Michael Cooper

Trojans will play Felicity Franklin on Wednesday

TROY — The Southeastern High School baseball team advanced to a Division IV district final for the first time since 2017 — and it did it with pitching and defense.

Trojans senior pitcher Sam Smith threw a five-hit shutout, striking out four as third-seeded Southeastern beat second-seeded Troy Christian 3-0 on Monday at Troy High School’s Market Street Field.

“We’ve sort of been playing this way all year,” said Trojans coach Craig Isaac. “I’m not surprised. We just beat a really good team with the coach of the year and the player of the year in the district. It takes nine, 10, 11 guys to go play and we executed. We got the bunts down when we needed to. We had solid baserunning and got some timely hits. That’s the name of the game in baseball.”

Trojans junior Aidan Harbage went 2-for-3 and sophomore Cole Walton had a two-RBI single as Southeastern improved to 18-7. Eagles sophomore Camden Koukol had two hits for Troy Christian, which finished its season 18-8.

Smith retired the first six Eagles hitters he faced before allowing a hit to Troy Christian’s Zane Harris in the third inning. The Eagles put runners on first and second base, but couldn’t advance them any further.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Trojans broke through. After back-to-back singles by sophomore Zach McKee and junior Austin Miller, Walton smashed a two-out single to center field to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead. Smith doubled to open the fifth inning and scored on a ground ball by McKee to give Southeastern a 3-0 advantage.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Troy Christian’s Adam Twiss walked and Paul McDonald singled to right field. Three pitches later, the Eagles’ Gavin Blore hit into a double play — from McKee to shortstop Gehrig Cordial to first baseman Cole Erskine — to end the Troy Christian threat.

“I was struggling to throw strikes, but I knew if I hit my spots, I’d get soft contact and it would happen,” Smith said. “(The defense) is great. They back me up every single game. Five shutouts — that’s only going to happen because of my defense. I wouldn’t be able to do it without defense.”

In the next inning, the Eagles loaded the bases with one out, but Connor Frye flew out to third baseman Kason Spears and Smith struck out Harris to end the inning.

“If you look at Sam’s stats, he’s the epitome of a pitcher,” Isaac said. “He’s not a strikeout pitcher. He pitches to contact. This is his fifth shutout of the year. We’re not surprised by Sam’s performance. He’s put the work in.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Southeastern High School senior pitcher Sam Smith motions towards the plate during a Division IV district semifinal game against Troy Christian on Monday, Monday, May 23, 2022, at Troy High School's Market Street Field. The Trojans won 3-0. Contributed photo by Michael Cooper

Credit: Name Test

Southeastern High School senior pitcher Sam Smith motions towards the plate during a Division IV district semifinal game against Troy Christian on Monday, Monday, May 23, 2022, at Troy High School's Market Street Field. The Trojans won 3-0. Contributed photo by Michael Cooper

Credit: Name Test

Combined ShapeCaption
Southeastern High School senior pitcher Sam Smith motions towards the plate during a Division IV district semifinal game against Troy Christian on Monday, Monday, May 23, 2022, at Troy High School's Market Street Field. The Trojans won 3-0. Contributed photo by Michael Cooper

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

The Trojans advanced to face Felicity Franklin at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Midland Baseball Complex in Batavia. The Cardinals (15-3) beat Middletown Christian 10-3 on Monday at Princeton High School to advance to the district finals.

Southeastern won the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division title this spring with a 13-3 conference mark, the best of any team in the 12-team league. The Trojans have also won eight of their last 10 games.

“We’re excited to keep moving on and I don’t think our kids are ready to quit,” Isaac said. “They want to keep playing. It’s a special group of kids. They bond well. They’ll practice when you don’t want them to practice. They’ll meet places and take batting practice without my direction and they don’t even tell me — it’s that kind of group.”

In other tournament games Monday:

• Catholic Central 14, Dayton Christian 6: The Irish scored five runs in the fourth inning to beat the top-seeded Warriors and advance to a D-IV district final game.

Catholic Central senior Jack Bramel went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs and senior Luke Spracklen went 2-for-4 with four RBIs as the Irish improved to 13-14 overall.

Irish senior Jayvin Payne picked up the victory on the mound, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in six innings for Catholic Central.

Irish junior Will Lopez had four hits and sophomore Da’Shawn Martin added three hits for Catholic Central, which advanced to play Fort Loramie (17-6) at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Versailles High School.

• Northeastern 3, Greeneview 1: Junior Travis Tuttle had two hits and scored two runs as Northeastern advanced to a Division III district final game.

Jets senior pitcher Colton Moone went seven innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts for OHC North Division champion Northeastern (16-7).

Moone and Preston Graves each had RBIs for Northeastern, which advanced to face Cincinnati Summit Country Day at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Kings High School.

• Mechanicsburg 5, Indian Lake 0: The Indians broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, scoring four runs to advance to a D-III district final.

Indians junior Mason Hess had two hits and senior Jake Edwards added two RBIs for Mechanicsburg, which advanced to play Roger Bacon at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Newton High School.

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