ALLIANCE — Midview North Cavanaugh Electric knew it would have to play its best game Monday night to defeat defending state champion Carrollton Fusion Ceramics in the Ohio Hot Stove Class FF (age 13) state finals.
Midview made an early statement, scoring three runs in the first inning. It waited until the final inning to make an even bigger statement, scoring eight more times in the sixth to coast home with a n 11-1 win and a state championship.
“I’ve played in a lot of big games before but this was the biggest,” Midview pitcher-center fielder Travis Miller said. “I knew we could win this game but the feeling of winning a state championship is even more than I thought it would be.”
Just a couple of fields away, the feeling wasn’t quite as good for Grafton Midview Mayhem, which fell short in its bid to repeat as state champs, losing to Alliance Trap’s Sports 13-5 in the Class H (age 10) finals.
Miller pitched the final 2⅓ innings to earn the save for Midview North Cavanaugh Electric and it was his fielder’s choice that drove home the run that produced a 10-run lead and brought the game to a halt via the mercy rule, allowing the celebration to begin.
Midview North Cavanaugh Electric finished the season with a 26-2 record. Both of its losses came in a tournament in Akron over the Memorial Day weekend.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Midview North manager Scott Crum said. “This has been a fun team to coach. We started the season as a good team and worked hard and turned into a great team.”
Crum praised the performance of Miller, who was also awarded the MVP as the best Class FF player at the state tournament.
“Travis is just a natural athlete and baseball is his passion,” Crum said. “He’s a good, smart kid who knows the game. It is amazing sometimes, he will point things out to the coaches in a game or at practice that we haven’t even thought of yet.”
Crum, who is also the offensive coordinator for the Midview High School football team, was forced to miss the first day of football practice after Saturday’s rains forced the Hot Stove tournament to a Monday conclusion.
“In all my years of football I have never missed two-a-days before,” he said. “I think this was worth it though.”
Conner Newton was the winning pitcher for Midview North. Newton was staked to an early lead after Sam Butler led off the bottom of the first with a double to start a three-run rally.
Midview North scored its 11 runs on just seven hits.
“You have to have confidence when you’re in a game like this,” Miller said. “You can’t be thinking it’s the state finals, you have to treat it like just another game.”
Carrollton Fusion Ceramics scored its only run in the fourth inning on a wild pitch and entered the sixth still just two runs behind before the Midview North offense kicked into overdrive.
The first nine batters in the sixth inning all reached base, with the biggest hit coming off the bat of Jacob Nelson, whose double drove in a pair of runs.
“Going into that inning we were saying, ‘Yeah, we gotta score more runs,’” Nelson said. “My teammates got things going and when I got that hit it felt really good.”
In Class H, Midview Mayhem had won 69 of its last 70 games but quickly fell behind 5-0 after one inning and 8-0 after two against Alliance Trap’s Sports.
Connor Bansek finally got Midview Mayhem on the board in the fifth inning with a two-out double that scored a pair of runs.
In the sixth inning, Jesse Rohal hit a bases-loaded double down the right-field line that cleared the bases to make the score 9-5. Rohal also put in a superb pitching effort in relief keeping his team in the game after starting pitcher Andrew Shaver failed to retire any of the eight batters he faced.
Midview Mayhem finished the season with a 25-2 record.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot Stove State Finals
Midview North Cavanaugh Electric 11, Carrollton Fusion Ceremics 1 (6 innings)
Alliance Trap’s Sports 13, Grafton Midview Mayhem 5