Loaded with many of its key players from a state title appearance last spring, Chaminade Julienne’s formidable baseball program appeared destined to be another championship contender this season.
That all changed when the Eagles began 0-3.
“We got a slow start and the weather was not cooperating with us,” veteran coach Mike Barhorst said. “Once we got the first win we got a lot of things going and we were playing really well.”
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Sure enough, CJ reverted to the Division II high school power it established last season by mounting an 11-game win streak. That came to an end on Tuesday when Fenwick hung a 10-6 defeat of CJ at Howell All-Star Field in Dayton’s Triangle Park.
CJ will likely be another tough out when the postseason begins next week. Tippecanoe (20-3) was awarded a No. 1 seed in the D-II sectional by coaches this past weekened and is positioned in the Dayton 1 upper bracket. CJ (11-4) earned a No. 2 seed and is in the Dayton 2 upper bracket.
Both Tipp and CJ have first-round playoff byes. CJ hammered Tipp 11-1 in the regular season three weeks ago.
CJ twice had 10-game win streaks last season. Barhorst sees similarities in the two teams.
“Once we get on a roll we play pretty good ball and we’ve got a good shot to beat anybody,” he said. “We have quite a few returners. For the most part we have all our pitching back. We feel real confident.”
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The Eagles’ pitching rotation revolves around junior Nick Wissman (4-1), sophomore Sebastian Gongora (3-1) and senior Ryan Peltier (2-2). Peltier also is tops in hitting (.386), hits (17) and doubles (four). An outstanding three-year starter as CJ’s quarterback, Peltier has signed to play baseball at Ball State University.
The unruly spring weather affected baseball and softball the most. Fenwick (19-6) had its four-year streak of Greater Catholic League North Division titles snapped by CJ last season. The Falcons (11-2) lead the North and CJ is second (7-2). Postposed league games usually are made up between postseason contests.
CJ defeated Steubenville 3-0 in a D-II state semifinal at Huntington Park in Columbus last season. Tallmadge shut down CJ 4-0 in the title game. That was the first time CJ had played in a state final four since 1975. As Chaminade, the Eagles won a big school Class AA state title in 1970.
Badin, of the GCL Central Division, lost to Defiance in the 2016 D-II state championship.
Fenwick was lumped in the D-II, Cincinnati 1 bracket and could do no better than a No. 5 seed. The Falcons had previously been anchored in Dayton-area sectionals.
“The GCL has always been tough,” Barhorst said. “Right now, we’re pretty much in lock-step again (with Fenwick). We’ve got a strong team and we’re poised to make another run.”
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• Tipp and Troy share the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North lead, both at 12-2. Tipp was the out-right leader until falling 3-2 at Butler on Tuesday. Both Tipp and Troy have one conference game remaining. Troy (14-6) is a No. 3 seed in the D-I sectional.
Xenia (18-6, 8-5) has secured an outright GWOC American South title with one game remaining. Springboro (15-7, 8-1) has done the same in the GWOC National West. Beavercreek (14-4, 8-3) split with Centerville (11-9, 7-4) this week and holds a one-game lead over the Elks with one GWOC National East game left.
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• Middletown Madison (18-2) completed a 12-0 run to win the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division title with a 4-1 defeat of Waynesville on Tuesday. The Mohawks are a No. 1 seed in the D-III, Dayton 1 sectional.
Oakwood (12-8, 8-3) defeated leader Monroe 12-6 on Tuesday to get back into SWBL Southwestern Division contention. Monroe (10-3, 6-2) still leads the division over the Lumberjacks and Brookville (10-6, 7-3).
• The baseball and softball postseasons begin on Monday.