Lebanon beats Butler for first district baseball championship

Lebanon celebrates a victory against Butler in a Division I district final on Friday, May 28, 2022, in Beavercreek, Photo by Jeff Gilbert

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Lebanon celebrates a victory against Butler in a Division I district final on Friday, May 28, 2022, in Beavercreek, Photo by Jeff Gilbert

Senior pitcher strikes out 14 in 3-0 victory

BEAVERCREEK — Lebanon senior Parker Dillhoff stepped off the mound and shouted to the dugout that he wanted to finish the game. He needed one more out and was two pitches away from the state’s 125-pitch limit.

Warriors head coach Larry Price said consideration was given to taking Dillhoff out.

“I looked at him and he was breathing like a dragon out there, and I couldn’t get any coach to go out and pull him and I wasn’t going out there,” Price said. “No, in all fairness, we thought he deserved to finish it.”

Because Dillhoff started the at-bat to Vandalia Butler’s Hunter Richardson on pitch 124 he was permitted to finish the at-bat. No matter the outcome Richardson was the last batter he would face.

Dillhoff struck out Richardson on a 3-2 pitch — his 130th of the game — and the hot-pitching Warriors defeated Butler 3-0 at Mark Stewart Field to claim a Division I district championship, the program’s first.

During a postgame interview, Dillhoff was drenched with a cooler of water and a cooler of blue Gatorade.

“I know how much fun it is to win these type of games,” said Price, who is in his 10th year at Lebanon and previously won a regional final as coach at Fairfield.

Dillhoff allowed one hit, struck out 14, walked six and hit a batter. His plus-90 fastball and slider were his best out pitches, and he used his curveball and circle changeup as set-up pitches.

“In the bullpen all four of my pitches were working, so right out of the gate I knew it was going to be a good day,” Dillhoff said. “It was just a matter of how long my arm was going to hold up, and I ended up feeling great all through the game.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Lebanon's Parker Dillhoff pitches against Vandalia Butler in a Division I district final on Friday, May 28, 2022, in Beavercreek, Photo by Jeff Gilbert

Lebanon's Parker Dillhoff pitches against Vandalia Butler in a Division I district final on Friday, May 28, 2022, in Beavercreek, Photo by Jeff Gilbert

Combined ShapeCaption
Lebanon's Parker Dillhoff pitches against Vandalia Butler in a Division I district final on Friday, May 28, 2022, in Beavercreek, Photo by Jeff Gilbert

Butler (24-6) had opportunities because of the walks, but Gage Harestad’s one-out single in the sixth was the Aviators’ only hit. Their best chance to score came in the fifth with two runners on base when Joe Mendy hit a line drive to right-center. But right-fielder Colton Hartman made a diving catch and doubled a runner off second base to end the inning.

“If you’re going to beat a guy like that, something like that’s got to fall in,” Butler coach Trent Dues said. “He was very effective, threw hard and mixed it up well.”

Hartman’s catch added more adrenaline for Dillhoff.

“That should have absolutely been a hit,” he said. “That’s a beautiful thing to see as a pitcher.”

Lebanon (20-11) has not allowed a run in four tournament victories. Friday’s one-hitter was the Warriors’ third in the tournament and second by Dillhoff, who will pitch next year for Wichita State. Hartman, a junior who has committed to Louisville, combined with Jack Cecil for the other one-hitter and threw a no-hitter in the previous round against Cincinnati Elder.

“Right now we’re rolling,” Dillhoff said. “If we keep getting pitching, keep getting some timely hits I think we can win it all.”

Next for the Warriors is a Division I regional semifinal Thursday at a site to be determined against the winner of Saturday’s district final between Mason and Miamisburg.

Lebanon, which had seven hits, took a 1-0 lead in the second. Hartman led off with a double and scored on a balk. In the third, Hartman hit a sacrifice fly and Logan Franz hit an RBI single.

“Hard work will overcome any obstacle that you’ve got out there, and they do work hard,” Price said. “They’re an enthusiastic bunch and you have to pull them away from the batting cages, you have to pull them away from practice. They just want more and more.”

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