FAIRBORN — It took three days of perfection to end Beavercreek’s baseball season.
Despite rain delays that moved the Division I sectional title game from Xenia to Clayton to Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium, Centerville pitcher Nick Hoffmann tossed a perfect game May 19 to lead the Elks to a 2-0 win over Beavercreek.
The neutral field battle between the two Greater Western Ohio Conference National Conference East division foes began on Thursday May 17 at Xenia High School, but was rained out with Centerville up to bat with Riley Poulton standing on second base with one out in the top of the second inning.
The game was then moved to Friday, May 18 at Northmont, but that contest was also stopped by rain, this time before it even started.
So Poulton took second on Saturday, but Centerville pitcher Brandon DeWitt — the GWOC’s regular season strikeout leader — struckout the next two Elks to end that threat.
Centerville got lead-off hitter Ryan Stahl on base in the third, thanks to an infield throwing error. Stahl then scored the game’s first run on Morgan Calopy’s bloop single over second base.
Stahl again got on base to lead off the fifth inning, this time with a single to center field. He got to second on Hoffmann’s sacrifice bunt to third, advanced to third on Thomas Jenkins’ infield hit down the first-base line, then scored on a bases-loaded walk.
On Saturday alone, DeWitt fanned 10 Elks while scattering seven hits, intentionally walking Colopy and walking Poulton with the bases loaded.
Hoffmann was simply phenomenal for Centerville.
The junior Clemson University verbal commit recorded a dozen strikeouts on Saturday, 13 in all.
A fourth-inning flyout to right field by Bryce Neuse, and Jake Maloney’s line-drive out to left in the seventh, were the only two balls that got out of the infield against Hoffman on Saturday.
“Hoffmann’s a good one. Our guy (DeWitt) is a pretty good one, too. That’s how we wanted it to be in a close game like that,” Beavercreek coach Brandon Long said. “Centerville and us have been at the top of our division all year long. We usually are, and that’s the way it needs to be. We had to beat Hoffman … so may the best man win.”
Hoffmann said the two weather delays didn’t blur his focus on the mound.
“Knowing that they might not have had their ace (DeWitt) back today had crossed our mind, but I was just focused on staying in the (strike) zone and getting that first guy out,” Hoffmann said. “My fastball and curveball were working well today, and my defense played great.”
Keeping up with her season of rainy and sometimes snowy torment, Mother Nature suspended Centerville’s district semifinal game with Loveland with the Elks leading the Tigers, 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning in Hamilton. That game was to have been finished Monday night.
Moments before he was to speak to his 2018 team for the last time after Saturday’s loss, Long still managed a smile when recalling the division winning season his Beavers ballclub enjoyed.
“I’ll tell these guys that 20-5 is nothing to shake a stick at,” Long said. “We won another GWOC East title, which is obviously our first goal of the year. With the infield being all new to their positions, they played pretty well all year. So I’m pretty happy with how they all played. You’ve gotta lose some time — it’s too early, in my opinion — but they did have a really good year.”
The Beavers lose 11 seniors with the loss. Neuse, Gary DeMartino, Matt DeShields, Drew Dillon, Austin Nuessgen, Cody Hocker, Justin Kauflin, Maloney, Corey Bennett, DeWitt, and Joey Riedel.