FAIRBORN — The Carroll Patriots baseball team made a terrific run in the postseason, but five miscues and seven walks spelled an end to their season. Springboro took advantage of the Patriots’ mistakes to win 12-2 in a May 21 Division I district semifinal game at George Winkhouse Stadium.
“Overall, I was pleased. Their pitchers had some troubles throwing strikes, and we were able to capitalize on that. I thought our pitcher struggled a little bit today, too, but he was able to battle and stay in the game for us,” Springboro coach Mark Pelfrey said. “I was real happy with how we played this game.”
Carroll coach Mike Sheets echoed Pelfrey’s analysis of the game, saying the errors and walks simply hamstrung his team. He sent pitchers Mathew McMahan, Mitch Applegate and Trent Randall to the mound, to no avail.
“We certainly didn’t get the kind of pitching that we wanted. They all had thrown really well. … Giving these guys that many walks, you just can’t do that. And I would count a half dozen errors that we committed as well. That just kills us, especially against a really good hitting team with a solid pitcher,” Sheets said.
Springboro (22-6) took command of the game in the very first inning, when the Panthers sent 10 batters to the plate. After three hits, two walks and two Carroll errors, the Panthers were out in front 6-0.
Both teams added single runs in the second and fourth innings — with Carroll senior Jake Westgerdes scoring on fellow senior Mitch Applegate’s single to center in the second; and Evan Stemmer’s pinch-run score (in place of Justin Parlette, who had drawn a walk) off Martin O’Grady’s sacrifice fly to left in the fourth — then Springboro put the game away by scoring four runs in the fifth to end it.
Springboro moves on to take on 16th seeded West Clermont, who was a 6-4 upset winner over No. 2 seed Cincinnati Moeller on Tuesday night in Hamilton. That district title matchup is set for a 5 p.m. start on Thursday, May 23 at Centerville High School.
To borrow the coach’s description, the Carroll baseball season was a roller coaster ride. The slow point of the season came in April when Sheets’ bunch was struggling to get a winning record. Things picked up with an end-of-May win over Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North foe Fenwick. Carroll then won eight of its next 10 games in May. The loss to Springboro ended the Patriots’ five-game winning streak, which included tournament wins over D-I powers Fairmont and neighborhood rival Beavercreek.
Carroll finished the season with the fourth best overall record in the entire GCL Co-Ed, yet finished third in the brutal North Division.
Sheets loses eight seniors from his roster: Andrew Sliper, Westgerdes, Trent Randall, Jeffrey Klepacz, Patrick Keller, Travis O’Leary, Applegate, Tyler Hassink, Jacob Cavender and Caleb Cavender.
“This is our best finish in the postseason since our 2013 team went to the sectional championship, and that was in Division II,” Sheets said. “For us to knock of great teams like Fairmont and Beavercreek, and to even be playing a Springboro? That’s quite an accomplishment for those guys. I’m proud of the season we had.”