The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

2021 Lancers have plenty to be proud of

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

AKRON — Lincolnview’s 2021 baseball season didn’t end with a gold OHSAA trophy or a state championship but make no mistake, it was special and was one that Lancer players, coaches and fans should be proud of.

Lincolnview’s Collin Overholt fires a pitch during Sunday’s Division IV state championship game vs. Warren JFK. Photo courtesy of Richard Parrish

The No. 6 Lancers came up short in Sunday’s Division IV state championship game, falling 4-0 to Warren JFK at Canal Park in Akron. Leading up to the game, Lincolnview won a Northwest Conference championship and sectional, district and regional titles, along with the school’s first state baseball appearance in 47 years and a new silver trophy to put in the school’s already impressive trophy case.

Special indeed

Head coach Eric Fishpaw had this to say about his state runner-up team: “This Lancer team was special. The chemistry. The focus. The communication.”

He’s right. You don’t reach the biggest stage of the season without those things.

Key inning

There’s no doubt the fourth inning was key for both teams.

JFK standout Cam Hollobaugh took his base after being hit by a pitch then after a walk, the Eagles came through with RBI singles in three of the next four at-bats to take a 3-0 lead.

It looked like the Lancers were ready to respond in the bottom portion of the inning. Carson Fox singled, Cole Binkley grounded into a fielder’s choice, then Caden Hanf singled but the inning ended on a double play.

It was the second double play turned by Warren JFK, with the other coming in the second inning. In both cases, the Lancers had two on base.

“I felt like the first three or four innings we had chances with runners on base,” Fishpaw said. “We were putting the ball in play and hitting it hard. JFK made plays and the double plays they made helped to stop any momentum we were about to put together.”

Stranded runners

When the game ended, the Lancers had stranded eight runners, compared to four by the Eagles.

Pitching

As expected, the pitching matchup was a good one.

Collin Overholt went the distance for Lincolnview and struck out nine, walked three and allowed eight hits, including three in the fourth inning.

JFK’s Gavin Shrum scattered five hits over seven innings. He wasn’t overpowering but had enough in his repertoire to hold the Lancers in check. Shrum ended up fanning seven and walking just one.

He also induced the two double play balls mentioned before.

Errors

The Lancers didn’t have a single error in the game and the Eagles had two – back-to-back in the second inning – but JFK sidestepped trouble by turning an inning ending double play.

Shortstop Dane Ebel scoops up a ground ball during Sunday’s Division IV state championship game at Canal Park in Akron. Richard Parrish photo

Improbable story

Warren JFK’s story is about as improbable as you’ll hear.

The Eagles had never been to the state tournament, much less won a state championship. They also had a first year head coach and just 11 players on the varsity roster, including six freshmen, four of which started on Sunday.

On top of that, JFK had just one senior on the roster – Hollobaugh, who will play football and baseball for Division II Walsh University.

Seniors

Lincolnview said goodbye to seven seniors – Clayton Leeth, Aaron Cavinder, Adam Berryman, Creed Jessee, Isaiah Peterson, Collin Overholt and Carson Bowen.

That’s always the tough part, saying farewell to your seniors.

“Our seven seniors will be deeply missed and we thank them for all of their hard work, dedication, and effort towards the program in their time as a Lancer in High School,” Fishpaw said.

What’s in store?

Replacing that senior class will be tough but the Lancers have plenty of returning players. Price, Binkley, Carson Fox are among the players who will be seniors with state experience and sophomores Hanf, Brandon Renner, Jared Kesler and Dane Ebel will be juniors.

While nothing is guaranteed, the future continues to look bright for the Lancers.

“After the game we talked about expectations for the future and what it takes to get to the state level,” Fishpaw said. “It is very challenging to get there, but what a taste for our underclassmen to get to strive for in the future.”

Lancer fans

Lincolnview fans were out in full force on Saturday and Sunday and they had to wait out a Sunday morning rain delay that pushed the games back an hour, along with a 10-inning Division II game that pushed the game back yet another hour.

Win or lose, Lancer fans were loud and proud and it was a great sight to see and hear.

Third baseman Creed Jessee successfully applies the tag to Warren JFK’s Caleb Haley. Richard Parrish photo

POSTED: 06/14/21 at 9:46 am. FILED UNDER: Sports