High School Baseball: Woolf leads Beavercreek past Centerville, into district finals

VANDALIA – Beavercreek waited for this chance since the cancellation 2020 high school baseball season. Last spring was supposed to be their year.

Jake Woolf, the Beavers’ senior pitcher, waited for this chance all season. He didn’t pitch in the two games against Centerville, but he wanted to. His dad was a great pitcher for the Elks.

District berths, shutouts and long-awaited moments come to those who wait.

Woolf threw an efficient four-hitter to lead the Beavers to a 4-0 victory over Centerville at Vandalia Butler High School and into a district final for the first time since 2015.

“We had watched him and knew he had good stuff, especially the movement,” Centerville coach Jason Whited said. “We knew he wanted quick innings, and that’s what he got. He was better than us today.”

The top-seeded Beavers (26-3) will try to win a district title for the first time since 2014 at 5 p.m. Thursday at Butler against Cincinnati Elder (20-8), a 6-1 winner over Cincinnati Turpin.

“Last year we had a team that everybody pretty much thought would be better than this team,” Woolf said. “We’ve surprised a lot of people this year, and that wait just makes us that much more hungry.”

The Beavers lost consecutive games at midseason, including one to the Elks (22-6) but have won 15 straight since.

“Nobody really gave them the credit that they deserved early on,” Beavers coach Brandon Long said. “They were overlooked. They’re doing their talking now.”

Charlie Schafer had a big first-inning hit for the Beavers, a bases-loaded, two-out fly ball that looked like an out when it left the bat but fell between two outfielders. The 2-0 lead was enough.

Armed with the lead, Woolf went to work with his fastball that runs away from left-handers (the Elks had three in their lineup) and jams right-handers. He only struck out one but induced 11 ground-ball outs.

“I had a little chip on my shoulder coming into this game,” Woolf said. “I’ve been looking forward to throwing against them all season.”

Schafer, who also pitches for the Beavers, had a great view of Woolf while playing third base.

“He’s always pitched good,” Schafer said. “He has not pitched with attitude like he did today.”

Matt Woolf graduated from Centerville and played a bit for Cincinnati. He coached his son from age 7 to 15. Jake Woolf will take what he’s learned to college next year and pitch for Division II California University of Pennsylvania.

“He taught me everything I know,” Woolf said. “Having him be a big mentor in my life like that means a lot.”

The Beavers added to the lead in the fifth on Mitchell Roether’s sixth homer of the season and an Elks’ error.

The Beavers made key defensive plays as well. Roether reached to his right at first base to snag a line drive to start the fifth. Woolf started a double play after a leadoff hit in the sixth. The play of the game was Schafer charging a two-out bunt, bare-handing the ball and making a diving throw to first to end the fifth inning. The dugout erupted and everybody had a high five or slap on the back for Schafer.

“I threw it the only way I could – submarine – and ended up diving while doing it,” Schafer said. “I practice bare hand – not diving while doing it. That was probably the best play I’ve ever made. I wish I could’ve seen it.”

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