The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 12, 2021

Lancers set for OHSAA state semifinals

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

The end of the 2021 high school baseball season is near and Lincolnview is one of just four Division IV teams still playing in the 93rd annual Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.

The Lancers (23-8, T-6th OHSBCA poll)) are scheduled to take the field against Lucasville Valley (20-11, No. 18) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the state semifinals at Canal Park in Akron, home of the Class AA RubberDucks. The game was scheduled to be played on Friday, but projected rain forced the OHSAA to delay all tournament games by one day.

In addition to a 10-0 record on the mound, Landon Price is batting .479 for the Lancers. Hanna Young/file photo

“At the beginning of practice today (Thursday) we talked about adversity,” head coach Eric Fishpaw said. “We talked about having to wait one more day for State. We had to wait one more day for regionals and we had to wait one more day for the district finals. We had to wait a whole year with COVID.”

“This group, they can handle anything that is thrown at them,” Fishpaw added.

For Lincolnview, the 1-2 pitching punch of Landon Price and Collin Overholt has been key throughout the tournament. Price struck out 15 in an 11-inning, 1-0 win over St. Henry in the district championship game, then the Ohio State commit followed up by fanning 13 in a 7-2 regional semifinal win over Antwerp.

Overholt took the hill in the regional finals and struck out 12 as the Lancers shut out Leipsic 5-0 for the regional title, the program’s first since 1974. The win over the Vikings also tied the school record for wins in a single season.

While Price (10-0, .190 ERA) and Overholt (8-1, 1.27 ERA) have provided muscle on the mound, Fishpaw believes the run to Akron has been the result of a total team effort.

“I like how selfless the guys are for each other,” Fishpaw said. “Starters, reserves, junior varsity players dressing, freshman dressing, etc, it doesn’t matter. They have been selfless and goal driven with great leadership within our players.”

“(Early in the season) I felt that we had the team make up and pitching depth to make a good tournament run,” Fishpaw continued. “Throughout the season it took a lot of work by our kids to improve on their craft, build a cohesiveness about them and connect on a level outside of practices and games. They continued to build that bond and I feel like we hit our stride at the right time.”

When he’s not behind the plate, Collin Overholt is 8-1 on the mound for Lincolnview. Hanna Young photo

At the plate, Price (.479, 18 RBIs), Overholt, .447, 26 RBIs), Carson Fox (.333, 28 RBIs) and Dane Ebel (.351, 30 RBIs) have been leaders throughout the season. Other contributors have been seniors Clayton Leeth, Aaron Cavinder, Creed Jessee and Adam Berryman, along with junior Cole Binkley and sophomores Brandon Renner and Caden Hanf.

Along with praising his players, Fishpaw noted he’s grateful for his assistant coaches and all the work they’ve put in this season.

“Our assistant coaches make our program,” Fishpaw stated. They are one of the biggest reasons we are still playing into June. We have all been together for five-plus years now and are all similar ages from 28-35 years old. We bounce ideas off one another, are actively each day engaging in our group chats, etc.”

“Marcus Meyer, Kyle Stechschulte, and Eric Giessler are essential to our program. From the coaching strengths in different positions to offseason workout supervision, to throwing batting practice. They are extremely hard workers and are totally invested in our program. I am forever grateful for them.”

The main weapon for Valley appears to be sophomore pitcher George Arnett, who is 8-5 with a 1.54 ERA, but has struck out 68 batters in tournament play. Senior shortstop Andrew Andronis (.351), sophomore right fielder Hunter Edwards (.288) and senior first baseman Breckon Williams (.301) lead the Indians in hitting, along with sophomore DH Christopher Queen (.340).

“Their top arm (Arnett) is 79-80 miles per hour on his fastball,” Fishpaw said of the Indians. “They play traditional small ball when getting a guy on and try to bunt him over into scoring position. They posted a 9-7 conference record playing a lot of Division III schools in their area.”

“Knocking off No. 2 Berlin Hiland tells me they will be ready to play on Saturday,” Fishpaw added.

The winner between Lincolnview and Valley will advance to Sunday’s 4 p.m. state championship game against Fort Loramie or Warren John F. Kennedy.

POSTED: 06/10/21 at 9:06 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports