The state runner-up trophy might as well weigh 1,000 pounds. It is the last thing any team wants to hoist in the air after the final game of the season.
One day Chaminade Julienne will look back on the trophy it earned Saturday with fondness, a reminder of the greatest tournament run in school history in 42 years. That wasn’t the case after a 4-0 loss to Tallmadge in the Division II state baseball championship game at Huntington Park.
Two days after Garrett Wissman threw a one-hitter in a 3-0 state semifinal victory against Steubenville, the Eagles (22-5) collected two hits and trailed from the first inning to the last.
“We couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” CJ coach Mike Barhorst said. “They fought and scratched and clawed and worked their butts off all year. Unfortunately, Tallmadge made all the plays. We just couldn’t find the hole when we needed a ball to get through. We couldn’t break through and get on the scoreboard. It’s the first time we’ve been shut out all year. Their pitcher hit the spots and kept us off balance. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done today.”
Tallmadge junior Jared Burick allowed two hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three. He didn’t let a runner get past second base.
“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.
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.”
PHOTOS: CJ vs. Steubenville
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.”
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