Clayton Brock and Sheffer combined on an eight-hitter with 10 strikeouts for CHCA (23-5), a Division III state semifinalist last year.
“It was just one of those slugfests where you’ve got two good teams obviously coached very well,” Eagles coach Tony Schulz said. “They helped us, but we took advantage of it and got some timely hitting and good base running, and our pitchers held up in the end.”
Senior catcher Keegan Corbett doubled twice, singled with two outs in the seventh and lined out for the fifth-seeded Falcons (21-9). His two-run double in the second inning plated Adam Brian and Henry Nenni.
Corbett, clearly taking the loss hard, politely declined an interview request after the game.
“That Keegan Corbett … I don’t know how anybody ever gets him out,” Schulz said. “They just swing it 1 through 9, and we had to hold on for dear life.”
Fenwick’s Matt Fink eyes Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy pitcher Clayton Brock from the on-deck circle during Friday’s Division II district semifinal at Princeton. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
“He just mashed the ball,” Stratton said of Corbett, who’s planning to play baseball at Sinclair Community College. “He’s ridiculous. Just a tremendous season. We’re going to be sad to see him go. All of our seniors are going to be missed.”
Lefty C.J. Napier pitched a six-hitter for Fenwick, striking out five and walking none. Two of the runs he gave up were earned.
Brad Davenport was 2-for-2 with a walk for the Falcons. Cayse Osborne was the lone Eagle with two hits.
“We thought we matched up well with CHCA, and we did. We should’ve won that ballgame 2-0 in my mind,” Stratton said. “Kudos to CHCA for making us make a play. We just didn’t do it. They forced the issue, and that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Fenwick stranded six runners, two in the sixth inning. Thomas Vogelsang singled and Davenport walked with two outs, prompting Schulz to make a trip to the hill.
“When I went out to the mound, it was to take Clay out of the game,” Schulz said. “To a man, every single one of the infielders and Oakley (Tippen) behind the plate said, ‘Coach, Clay’s got this guy. Do not take him out of the game.’ It’s the first time I’ve ever been talked out of a move, and it certainly paid off.”
Brock struck out R.J. Clesceri to end the threat. Sheffer then picked up the save with a four-batter seventh inning.
“I think we’ve got a good shot to go back (to state), but we’ve got to go prove it,” Schulz said. “Our guys love each other, and I love coaching them. They play the game hard. They play the game the right way.”
The Falcons finished second behind Chaminade Julienne in the Greater Catholic League Coed North Division this year. They are losing 10 seniors: Corbett, Davenport, Brian, Alec Bush, Cross Youtsler, Connor Hayek, Matt Fink, Jake Schaefer, Zach Lorei and Sam Kemper.
“We fell short of a couple goals, but overall, it was a very positive season,” Stratton said. “The kids at Fenwick are great. We’ll crank it up again in November. We’ll have a lot of holes to fill, but we’ve got a lot of talented guys coming up.”
CHCA will play Springfield Kenton Ridge for a district championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Miamisburg.
WP — Clayton Brock (5-2); LP — C.J. Napier (0-2); S — Blake Sheffer (4). Records: F 21-9, C 23-5