Fort Loramie coaches and players took turns taking photos of the state championship trophy in the dugout at Huntington Park. That prize will find a home in the high school. The medals around their necks and the new T-shirts they wore will remain treasured souvenirs for rest of their lives.
» PHOTOS: Fort Loramie vs. Hicksville
The Redskins won their third state championship in an emphatic and dramatic way, rallying with eight runs in the fifth inning to beat Hicksville 8-4 in the Division IV final.
The Redskins (26-6) became the 20th program in state history to own three state titles. They also won championships in 2007 and 2010.
First-year Fort Loramie head coach Jeff Sanders praised the fans who made the 93-mile drive for keeping his team’s spirits up after an error-filled fourth inning that left the Redskins facing a 4-0 deficit. Fort Loramie had one hit at that point. Nothing foreshadowed what was to come in the fifth.
“The crowd was thunderous,” Sanders said. “I could feel it going through my body. I had my warm-up coat on, and I think I could feel it shaking. The crowd was unbelievable. I’ve never seen a Fort Loramie crowd like that.”
Fort Loramie sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth. It loaded the bases with no outs. With one out, Carter Mescher drove in the first run with a single. Dylan Albers followed with a triple to center field. Three runs scored on the hit.
CJ Billing followed with an RBI single to center, scoring Albers and giving Fort Loramie a 5-4 lead. It was the 19th RBI of the postseason for Billing.
Later in the inning, a double by Eli Rosengarten scored two runs. A triple by Austin Siegel scored the final run of the inning.
“We just knew if we kept having good at-bats and hitting our pitch, then good things would happen,” Albers said, “and sure enough they did. We were telling ourselves to keep hitting, keep putting the ball in play and don’t give up. We’ve come back in the last four games, so it’s not a new position for us.”
In the third and fourth innings, walks, errors and even a balk combined to cost Fort Loramie. Hicksville, which was playing in its first state championship game, scored four runs in those innings on only one hit.
The Aces scored their first run in the third inning thanks to two walks and a balk followed by a RBI sacrifice fly by Zac Brickle.
In the fourth, Hicksville scored three runs on one hit and three errors. Braden Langham scored the first run on a throwing error. Junior Gipple scored the second run on a wild pitch. Parker Thiel scored the final run of the inning on a fielding error.
NOTES: Fort Loramie joined an exclusive group of programs that have won three or more state championships: 12: Cincinnati Elder. 9: Newark Catholic. 8: Cincinnati Moeller. 6: Cincinnati Reading and Coldwater. 5: Cincinnati Western Hills. 4: Defiance, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit. 3: Minster, Lakewood St. Edward, Baltimore Liberty Union, Columbus Bishop Waterson, Columbus St. Francis DeSales, Beavercreek, Cincinnati Withrow, Hebron Lakewood, St. Henry, Wheelersburg, Canton Central Catholic and Fort Loramie.
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