“He commanded well,” CJ junior Ryan Peltier said. “He got ahead of us. He had a fastball and a curveball. He painted the black. He lived outside. They had the whole outfield shifted. They were playing the gaps on us. They had all their guys in the right spots, and their defense made all the plays.
Two of Burick’s walks came with one out in the bottom of the seventh. CJ had runners at first and second when Tallmadge replaced Burick with Mikah McGlaughlin. He struck out the last two batters of the game.
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Neither team had an extra-base hit. Daniel Slaybaugh and Ben Thomas had CJ’s only hits.
“Maybe it was a mental thing,” CJ senior shortstop Mark Barhorst said. “I’m not entirely sure what was wrong. We let too many pitches go by. We needed to be more aggressive earlier in the count.”
Tallmadge (25-7), which won its second state title and first since 2002, set the tone with a two-out RBI single by Scott Seeker in the first. It added two runs in the third and one more in the sixth.
“We like to play with the lead,” Mark Barhorst said. “It’s something we always talk about. We want to score in the first inning and put pressure on the other team. Today we just weren’t able to do that.”
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Peltier allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
“Six of their hitters were lefties,” Peltier said. “All my stuff was coming in on them. I didn’t have my best stuff today. I wasn’t really getting ahead of a lot of hitters. Some of my breaking stuff wasn’t breaking as good as it has been. When they scored in the first, we really weren’t used to being down. We tried obviously, but we couldn’t get anything going.”
CJ fell short of its first state title since 1970. The last current member of the Greater Catholic League to win a state championship was Purcell Marian in 2003.
“I think this is a good place for this program to grow from,” Mark Barhorst said. “We always knew we had the talent. We got here. Now for the people in the future — I’m a senior; I’m not going to be able to do this anymore — but those underclassmen can get over that step. They’re right there. They can do it.”