Centerville pitcher Nick Hoffmann saved his best for Miamisburg on Tuesday.
“Hoff was Hoff; that’s him,” beamed Centerville coach Jason Whited following the Elks’ 4-0 elimination of the Vikings in a Division I baseball district semifinal at Butler High School. “Even when it looks like he’s not throwing his best, he’s really good. He just kind of took over the game.”
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Centerville joins six other area Division I and II winners that move on to Thursday’s district finals. Centerville (22-6) will play Cincinnati Elder (20-9) of the Greater Catholic League South at Princeton at 5 p.m. Thursday. Elder blanked Centerville 4-0 in the season opener way back on March 23. That was the fourth straight season the teams had played in the first game.
Other Tuesday district semi winners were Springboro and Butler (D-I) and Chaminade Julienne, Fenwick, Franklin and Kenton Ridge (D-II). The Divisions III and IV district semis were Monday.
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Hoffmann, among the area’s most dominant pitchers, went the distance, allowing just two hits and striking out 12. Centerville bunched four runs in the second inning to make a winner of Hoffmann (7-0, 61 strikeouts, three shutouts and 1.40 ERA).
“The fastball, curveball and location were on,” said Hoffmann, a right-hander who signed with Clemson University. “The defense helps and the hitters are getting runs and producing. We’re battling. We’re hoping to do the best we can and see how far we can go.”
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Centerville senior Shea Hendrixson had three hits and junior Ryan Stahl had a double.
Centerville, the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East champ (12-0), also defeated visiting Miamisburg 8-3 in a GWOC crossover game two weeks ago.
Elder is a formidable program and shared a GCL South tri-championship with Moeller and St. Xavier. Those three GCL heavyweights have combined for 22 big-school state baseball championships, including 12 by Elder.
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“If you look at our schedule, we (play) the top Cincinnati teams and we try and schedule the top Dayton teams year in and year out,” Whited said. “We feel we’re prepared. We’re excited to represent Dayton, but more important, we’re excited to represent Centerville.”
• Defending D-II state champ CJ was pushed to the limit, edging Bellbrook 1-0 at Monroe. The Eagles scored in the fourth inning after senior Nick Wissman walked and stole second base, followed by an RBI-single by junior Jack Huffman.
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CJ junior pitcher Sebastian Gongora (7-0, 1.34 ERA) went the distance, allowing just three hits, striking out 10 and issuing one walk.
“Luckily, we were able to manufacture one run out of the deal,” CJ coach Mike Barhorst said. “It was kind of like a lot of other games we’ve had.”
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CJ (22-2) takes an 18-game win streak into a D-II district final against Cincinnati Wyoming (14-7) at Fenwick on Thursday. Wyoming advanced by defeating McNicholas 2-0.
• Cooper Harestad doubled and drove in a run, Cam Miller had two hits and Zach Fults and Boston Smith each had RBIs in Butler’s 4-2 defeat of Troy in a D-I district semi at Centerville. Pitcher Cody Borchers earned the win.
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Butler (23-6) is paired against Greater Miami Conference champ Mason (25-3) in a D-I district final at Kings on Thursday.
• The D-II boys and girls regional track and field meet is 5 p.m. Thursday at Piqua. About half the field events will be contested. The only running final is the 3,200-meter relay. All other prelim qualifiers advance to Saturday’s 11 a.m. finals.
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The top four in each event qualify to next week’s season-ending state track and field meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
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