Falcons Fall To Toronto For State Championship
The best season in Hillsdale baseball history fell just short of achieving the ultimate goal, as the Falcons finished as Division IV state runners-up with a 3-1 loss to Toronto at Canal Park in Akron.
Despite being a game-time decision with a left ankle injury suffered after Hillsdale’s state semifinal win over Minster, senior pitcher Garrett Goodwin went the distance from the mound, allowing 3 runs on 10 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. The Red Knights struck for a pair of scores in the third on a Falcons fielding error followed by an RBI single from Nick Sninchak who later drove in an insurance run in the seventh.
Toronto starter Nate Karaffa was lights out for most of the contest, allowing just 2 hits while striking out a dozen Hillsdale hitters. The Ohio-State commit gave up an RBI double to Briar Funk in the sixth that made it a 2-1 game but sat down the Falcons in order with a double-play and a strikeout the following inning to secure the title.
Hillsdale (28-3) finishes the season with a program record for wins as the first boy’s team in school history to make the state tournament. They will graduate 4 seniors in Goodwin, Jay Luikart, Garrett Crites and Garrett Smith.
Toronto (28-5) are state champs for the second time in school history (1998), finishing the season on a 16 game win streak.
Luikart’s Shutout Sends Hillsdale To State Championship
The historic journey for the Hillsdale baseball team will continue through the final day of the season as the Falcons advanced to the Division IV State Championship with a 1-0 victory over Minster (22-8) in the state semifinals at Canal Park in Akron.
Hillsdale hung the lone score of the contest on the board in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly from junior Evan Rottman to bring home Briar Funk, who led off the frame with a single. Wildcats starter Austin Brown was nearly flawless aside from this damage, allowing just three hits over seven innings with five K’s, but the Falcons ace was even better.
Senior lefty Jay Luikart gave up just two hits during his complete game shutout, walking three Minster batters while fanning nine. He pitched himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, striking out Adam Ketner to end the frame which seemingly fueled Luikart and his defense the rest of the way.
Hillsdale (28-2) now advances to face Toronto (27-5) for the state title on Sunday at 1 pm.
10 Questions With A 10-Year-Old Featuring Jay Luikart
For the first time in program history, the Hillsdale baseball team is advancing to play in the State Final Four as the Division IV Strongsville Regional champions.
Leading the way for the Falcons during their school record-setting 27 win season has been senior pitcher Jay Luikart, who was recently selected as a 1st Team All-Ohioan. The hard-throwing lefty was also chosen by 4th-grade reporter Aaliyah Skowronski to join her for a round of “10 Questions with a 10-Year-Old”.
Watch as the Wright State-bound star steps up to the plate for inquiry’s about his winning science projects, places to time travel, celebrity look-alikes and much more.
Rally Helmet Roulette With Hillsdale Baseball
It’s been a historic year on the diamond for the Hillsdale baseball team who are still competing during the final week of the spring sports season.
The Falcons set a single-season school record with their 27th victory last week, claiming the programs first ever Regional Championship in the process. The team is now preparing to battle Minster in the Division IV State Semifinals this weekend, but first, they would be challenged by a round of “Rally Helmet Roulette”.
Join coach Jason Snow and his state-bound Falcons as they answer a series of random questions to help us get to know the squad on a more unique level.
Hillsdale Stomps Springfield For Regional Championship
The Hillsdale baseball squad punched their ticket to the Division IV State Final Four with a dominating 16-2 win over New Middletown Springfield for the Strongsville Regional title.
The contest didn’t start well for starting pitcher Garrett Goodwin and the Falcons, surrendering a pair of runs to the Tigers in the top of the first. With a wealth of run support soon to follow, however, the senior righty would settle in from that point forward, only allowing three hits on the day with no walks while striking out six.
Hillsdale answered Springfield’s (26-4) pair of runs with an offensive explosion over the next two stanzas, hanging a dozen runs on the board with eight of those coming in the bottom of the first. The Falcons forced two Tigers pitching changes before the start of the second inning, belting out 11 total hits in the game.
Ty Williams opened the second with a solo shot to right-center while Jay Luikart finished a perfect 4-4 from the dish with 5 RBI and 2 runs, as seven other Falcons batted in at least one score. Following a scoreless third, Hillsdale dropped four more runs in the fourth to put the mercy rule into effect, finishing off Springfield in just 4.5 innings to set a program record with 27 wins.
Hillsdale (27-2) will now advance to the Div IV State Semifinals to face the winner between Minster vs Fairfield Christian on June 7 at 4 pm in Akron.
Lady Falcons Fall To Mechanicsburg At State Final Four
The Hillsdale Softball team fell to the Mechanicsburg Indians 7-3 at the Division IV State Softball Semifinals. The teams were fired up as the lights turned on at Firestone Stadium on Friday night.
The first run would belong to the Indians at the top of the second after Hillsdale dropped two fly balls. Coach Abbey DeLong Said “That’s our goal every game. I think we’ve done that in probably 95 percent of our games,” she said. “I think we play better when we’re visitors and can go out and score first.” Keeping momentum in the fourth the Indians would gain another 3 runs with two hits, 1 walk and another error by the Falcons making the score 4-0.
The Falcons would finally see a run in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly by sophomore Emma Fowler, but the Indians were on fire scoring another run in the top of the fifth making it a 5-1 Game. “These girls didn’t stop fighting all day. We started out the game down 1-0 and they fought hard the entire game,” Coach Hanna Fulk said. Hillsdale stood strong and reached home plate twice in the bottom of the fifth with a walk by Hattie Stamen, a bunt by Jessie Rowland and Sophia Goon brought home a run with a ground out and Crossen collected an RBI with a sacrifice fly to center.
The score now 5-3 leading into the seventh, the Falcons were on the comeback but when Mechanicsburg sophomore Hannah DeLong took the plate she struck a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run homer and the Indians would win 7-3.
The Indians will play Saturday at 7 p.m. for a state title against Antwerp, a 1-0 winner over Peebles in the other state semifinal game. The Archers are also making their first state tournament appearance.
Hillsdale Moves On To First Ever Regional Final
For the first time in program history, the Hillsdale baseball team will play for a Regional Championship after knocking out Seneca East 7-1 in the Division IV semifinals at Strongsville.
Senior pitcher Jay Luikart was sensational for the Falcons, striking out a dozen Tigers batters without a walk while surrendering 1 run on 6 hits. The Wright State commit improved to 10-0 from the hill on the season, throwing just a fastball and a slider to keep Seneca East off balance.
Luikart said much of the pressure that comes with pitching in a regional contest was lifted after his team dropped all 7 of their runs on the board in the top of the 3rd inning. The typically explosive Hillsdale offense only knocked 2 hits off Tigers starter Rickie Lacy in the frame, but capitalized on a hit batter followed by 4 consecutive walks for a 5-0 edge, then scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch.
The lone Seneca East run came in the bottom of the 7th on an RBI single by Andrew Daniel, before Luikart ended the game with his dozenth punch out of the afternoon.
The Falcons (26-2) now advance to face New Middletown Springfield on June 1 for a spot in the Division IV State Final Four.
Rally Helmet Roulette with Hillsdale Softball
For the second year in a row, the Hillsdale softball team is preparing for the Division IV State Final Four after winning the programs amazing 16th Regional crown.
The defending state champion Lady Falcons will face state-ranked Mechanicsburg for a spot in the D4 title game, but first, they must take on a round of “Rally Helmet Roulette”.
Join coach Hannah Fulk and 11 of her varsity players as they answer a series of random questions that help us get to know them on a more unique level.
Hillsdale Wins State Championship Without Allowing A Run
There are dominant tournament runs then there are those like the Hillsdale softball team enjoyed on their way to the Division IV State Softball Championship.
In a battle of traditional powers, combining for 13 championships and 31 Final Four appearances, the top-ranked Lady Falcons held #11 Strasburg-Franklin (23-6) in check like they’d done to every state tournament opponent up to this point. Hillsdale senior pitcher Sydney Long threw a complete game shutout, holding the Tigers hitless until their final out of the 7th inning.
Long would also provide some fireworks from the plate, giving the Lady Falcons a 2-0 edge in the bottom half of the opening frame which she credits for her level of comfort from the circle, along with their stingy defense. Hillsdale would add three runs in the 5th inning with freshman shortstop Josie Rowland smacking an RBI triple, and they’d close out a 5-0 title clinching victory with their seventh consecutive shutout of the postseason.
The #1 Lady Falcons finish the season on a 17 game win streak at 27-2, posting 16 shutouts during their championship campaign. It marks the 7th State Championship for the Hillsdale Softball program (2018, 2010, 2000, 1999, 1996, 1994, 1979) who will graduate four seniors in Long, catcher Kaylee Cline, 2nd baseman Keirah Smetzer and OF Maryellen Bliss.
Hillsdale Walks Off To Softball State Championship In Extra’s
The top-ranked Lady Falcons had to survive a defensive battle with #10 Bradford to punch their ticket to the Division IV final, but a 1-0 victory over the Railroaders in 8 innings would propel Hillsdale to the title game.
The game was unquestionably a pitcher’s duel, with Hillsdale senior All-Ohioan Sydney Long going toe to toe with Bradford freshman fire baller Skipp Miller, with both allowing six hits and a walk during the contest. Long would strikeout 13 batters, Miller 7, as the game was pushed to a deciding eighth inning with neither squad able to score in regulation.
A loss of control for Miller in the bottom of the eighth would result in a leadoff walk to Falcons senior catcher Kaylee Cline, who would advance on a single by Long and later come home for the winning run on a wild pitch. This came after Long extended the game by pitching her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the 7th, striking out a pair of Railroaders to get out of the jam.
#1 Hillsdale (26-2) now advances to face state power #5 Strasburg-Franklin (22-5) for the State Championship.
Hillsdale Knocks Out Mohawk For Regional Championship
The incredible tournament run for the Hillsdale softball team continued in the Division IV Akron Regional Championship with the Lady Falcons soaring to the Final Four with a 3-0 win over Mohawk.
Hillsdale struck first with an RBI double from senior pitcher Sydney Long in the bottom half of the first and that’s all the run support the Ohio Dominican recruit would need. The Lady Warriors loaded the bases in the top half of the second, but Long pitched her way out of the jam and was virtually spotless the rest of the way.
The Lady Falcons put up runs in their offensive portion of the second and third innings for a 3-0 edge and Long did the rest, going the distance and surrendering just two hits while striking out 14 Mohawk batters on the day to clinch the regional title. Long and the Hillsdale defense still hasn’t allowed a single run during their postseason run, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 37-0.
The Lady Warriors wrap-up their season at 19-8 in Mindy Walton’s first season as head coach while #1 Hillsdale (25-2) will advance to play #10 Bradford (23-3) on Friday at 10 am in the State Semifinals at Akron Firestone Stadium.
9 Questions with a 9-Year-Old: Hillsdale Sr. Sydney Long
Hillsdale senior pitcher Sydney Long is having a standout season on the softball diamond this spring. The Ohio Dominican University-bound righty has the Lady Falcons ranked #1 in the state for Division IV with a 16-1 record from the circle, boasting an ERA below 1.0 with 16 strikeouts and just 14 walks while hitting for a .466 avg with 25 RBI and 3 home runs.
Long has Hillsdale (23-2) soaring into the Regional semifinals with three straight tournament shutouts as the Lady Falcons pursue the seventh state championship in program history. So, to get a better understanding of what makes the starting pitcher for the top-ranked squad tick, the OH.Report sent in 9-year-old correspondent Aaliyah Skowronski to grill Long with a 9-pack of questions, featuring a few curve balls nearly as good as Sydney’s.
#1 Hillsdale Soars Past Mapleton For Sectional Title
The top-ranked team in the state for Division IV softball opened tournament play with a dominating performance against Mapleton in the Sectional Championship Wednesday night, as Hillsdale dismantled the Mounties 20-0 to advance.
The Lady Falcons jumped out to a commanding early lead with an 11-run first inning where junior CF Sophie Goon went 2-2 in the frame with a triple, 4 RBI and scored 2 runs. Hillsdale would add six more runs in the second and plated four in their offensive half of the fourth, which would be plenty of run support for senior pitcher Sydney Long.
Long allowed just one hit with no walks, striking out nine Mapleton batters in route to the victory, and also delivered a 2 RBI double from the dish. The win advances the WCAL champion Lady Falcons (18-2) into Tuesday’s District Semifinal at Revere to face #4 Columbia.