Page 59 of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state baseball program lists the no-hitters thrown in the final four. It’s not a long list. They have played this tournament since 1928. Twelve no-hitters have been thrown — only one in the last 30 years.
Chaminade Julienne senior Garrett Wissman came inches away from joining that exclusive club in his final high school start Thursday. He threw a one-hitter with seven strikeouts and one walk, leading the Eagles to a 3-0 victory against Steubenville in the Division II state semifinals at Huntington Park.
PHOTOS: CJ vs. Steubenville
The opposing starting pitcher, Nicky Zorne, broke up the no-hitter with two outs in the fifth. He reached on an infield single. Wissman’s brother, sophomore second baseman Nick Wissman, made a nice play on the ball, but the throw to first base was just an instant late.
“It would have been really nice,” Garrett said. “I was giving my brother a hard time. But our defense played great. I was just trying to find the strike zone and make them put it in play. I know we have the defense to make any play.”
EARLIER: CJ confident going into final four
The Eagles will play Tallmadge in the state championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Park. Tallmadge (24-7) beat Maumee 4-1. CJ seeks its first state baseball title since 1970. Tallmadge won the state title in 2002.
Wissman started the regional semifinal against Waynesville and allowed one run on three hits in six innings in a 4-1 victory. He was even more dominant in this game. He struck out five batters in the first two innings.
Wissman shut down Steubenville (28-5). The Big Red had won 12 games in a row. They averaged 9.8 runs in their first five tournament games.
“Garrett was tremendous,” CJ coach Mike Barhorst said. “He didn’t even have his best stuff today, but he kept the ball down. He was in command the whole day. He had a better breaking ball than he had in his last outing, which helped him a lot, but his velocity was 83-84 most of the time, and he’s normally an 88 guy. He battled his way through and made the pitches he needed to make.”
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An early lead helped Wissman relax. The third batter of the game, Ryan Peltier, hit a home run to left field to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
“It’s so much better pitching with a lead,” Wissman said. “I was kind of like, ‘All right, let’s do this.’”
It was the second straight game CJ grabbed the lead with a first-inning home run. Wissman hit a two-run home run to set the tone in a 4-3 regional final victory Saturday against Columbus DeSales.
“It’s something I’ll remember the rest of my life,” Peltier said. “Hopefully, we can take this into Saturday and keep it rolling.”
CJ added to its lead with an RBI single by Ben Thomas in the second. In the fifth, Cameron Benoit scored on a wild pitch.
The Eagles could have had more. They failed to score after advancing runners to first and third with no outs in the third. But three runs were plenty for Wissman.
“I had a pretty good feeling with Garrett on the mound,” Barhorst said, “that we could keep it low scoring and find a way to score a few runs and win.”