There’s no beating experience and pitching in the high school baseball state championships. Chaminade Julienne and Coldwater proved that, again.
Both those high-end programs exited Canal Park on Sunday with pep in their steps, extra-long state championship trophies and new places in history-making seasons.
»» RELATED: Coldwater wins D-III state title
»» RELATED: CJ defends its D-II state title
CJ junior Sebastian Gongora, the son of Eagles pitching coach Chris Gongora, hurled a complete game and shut down Gates Mills Gilmour Academy 4-2 on Sunday. That was CJ’s third straight appearance in the Division II state championship.
CJ is only the ninth team in the 92-year history of Ohio’s postseason to win consecutive titles, having won in 2018, too. The Eagles (27-2) will begin next season on a 23-game win streak.
“The guys had a taste of this atmosphere and there was nothing they wanted to do but get back here and win another one,” said CJ coach Mike Barhorst, a CJ grad who announced prior to the playoffs this would be his last – and 20th season – coaching the Eagles.
»» FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton
»» TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton
Coldwater, out of the storied Midwest Athletic Conference, benefited from a similar pitching effort by senior Jacob Wenning. He also went the distance in a 1-0 shading of Ridgewood, a first-time participant and the pride of Coshocton County. Not only did that secure a D-III state championship – Coldwater’s seventh – just as important it somewhat soothed the sting of losing last year’s title game.
Think getting back to the state final four weighed on the Cavaliers? Sure it did. That’s why coach Brian Harlamert, also a Coldwater grad, stressed “the process” and “finish strong.”
“I think we did a pretty good job of those things,” he said as the Cavs celebrated around him.
»» RELATED: Wissman hurls CJ over Van Wert
»» PHOTOS: CJ in D-II state semi baseball
Every baseball and softball coach covets good pitching. It’s everything. That also was at a premium in three days at the home of the minor-league Akron RubberDucks, the first of two years here after moving from Huntington Park at Columbus. There were 12 games, eight semifinals and four championships for each of the four divisions. In seven of those games a team was held to one run or less. There were five shutouts.
Minster was on the losing end of a 1-0 semifinal decision to Hillsdale on Friday, which knocked out another quality MAC team out of the D-IV title hunt.
Scoring can get stingy at this level.
»» RELATED: Coldwater advances to D-III title game
»» PHOTOS: Minster in D-IV state semi baseball
Gongora (8-0, 1.17 ERA, 81 strikeouts in 54 innings) and senior Nick Wissman (11-0, 0.84 ERA, 80 strikeouts in 67 innings) were unbeatable as CJ’s “two No. 1’s,” according to Barhorst.
Wissman, who went the distance in a 6-1 defeat of Van Wert on Saturday, will take his considerable game to the University of Dayton as a preferred walk-on. Gongora, a 6-foot-4 lefty, is uncommitted but will be in high demand.
There’s much more waiting for whoever inherits the Eagles’ coaching position. Sophomore second baseman and leadoff hitter A.J. Solomon set a program record with 29 stolen bases. He’s among Ohio’s top-rated players for the Class of 2021.
»» RELATED: Springboro’s historic run ends
»» PHOTOS: Springboro in D-I state semi baseball
CJ outfielders Jack Huffman and Dylan Snyder, catcher Jacob Hieatt, first baseman Eliott Seelig and designated hitter Andrew Tillman all started the title game and are juniors.
“It was for coach Barhorst,” said Wissman, who had all four RBI’s in the title game. “He worked so hard and deserves this. He is a hall of famer.”
Coldwater (27-6) needed just 70 minutes to beat Ridgewood. It was the Cavaliers’ 21st appearance in a final four, a state record.
»» RELATED: CJ returns to D-II state championship
»» RELATED: Minster falls to WSU recruit
With 488 career wins, all at Coldwater in 22 seasons, Harlamert is a cinch to surpass 500 next season. The Cavs replaced seven graduated starters from last season. They’ll do nearly the same next year and beyond. Coldwater baseball is a long-running hit machine in Mercer County.
“Coming into this year we knew wanted to get back here,” said Wenning, a converted shortstop and football and basketball standout, too. “It’s going to be awesome to see our 2019 banner out there in center field (at Coldwater) and knowing I was part of that.”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.