Hubbard, seniors lead Perrysburg to state

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By Dylan Hefflinger

Prep Baseball Report

This weekend the Perrysburg baseball headed to the Division I state final four at Canal Park, the home park of the Double A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians.

Perrysburg takes on Mason at 7 p.m. on Friday following the Twinsburg-Olentangy Berlin game, which begins at 4 p.m. The two winners will play for a state championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Courtesy thr Ohio High School Athletic Assocation, Prep Baseball Report previews the four state semifinal teams —

PERRYSBURG: The Yellow Jackets knocked off Lakewood St. Edward 8-2 in the regional final to make it to state for the first time in 13 years.

Matt Hubbard, a Toledo commit who leads the team in batting at .464, had an RBI single in the third and two-run double in the fourth for head coach Dave Hall, who enters the state tournament with 738 coaching wins. Palmer is one of nine seniors on the Perrysburg squad.

Sophomore left-hander Tyler Palmer did not permit a run in four innings of relief for Perrysburg, which was state runners-up in its last trip to state in 2011.

Hubbard threw a six-hitter in a 4-1 victory over Toledo St. Francis in the regional semifinals for the Jackets, which have outscored the opposition 36-5 in the tournament, including a 5-1 win over Sylvania Southview in the district finals behind the pitching of Adrian College commit Parker Faris, one of six Jackets headed to play baseball at the next level.

Junior shortstop Connor Kessenger set a school record for runs scored this season with 41 while Hubbard set the mark for doubles with 13.

Perrysburg, the 21st-ranked team in the state by Prep Baseball and the OHSBCA, is the third different Northern Lakes League team in three years to make it to state, with Sylvania Northview winning the D-I title in 2022 and Anthony Wayne losing in the semifinals last year.

MASON: Michael Bilo threw a no-hitter to lead Mason to a 3-0 win over top-ranked Cincinnati Moeller, giving Mason its third regional title in the past six seasons.

The senior, committed to George Mason, struck out 10 for the sixth-rated team in the state by Prep Baseball and seventh by the OHSBCA.

Anthony Sulek had an RBI triple and two-run double for the Bears, while Indiana commit Jake Hanley hit a single and double and scored twice for Mason, which had lost to Moeller 7-5 in 10 innings back in Apri

Mason, which was beaten by Cincinnati Elder in the regionals a year ago, avenged the loss in the semifinals with a 9-5 victory.

Hanley, the OHSBCA D-I Player of the Year who broke the career hits record at Mason, belted two home runs and fired a one-hitter in a 5-0 district finals win over Troy and also had a home run in a 4-0 district semifinal win against Cincinnati St. Xavier.

In addition to Bilo and Hanley, other starters headed to college to play are Drew Stevens (Ashland), Mark Rutherford (Shelton State CC), Bryce Brannon (Duke) and Alex Koelling (Ohio State).

Mason, which became the first team to win six consecutive GMC championships this season, has never won state in three previous appearances, 1987, 2018 and 2022.

TWINSBURG: The Tigers have found a great way to honor former head coach Jeff Luca, who died in a car accident in December, with a trip to the state tournament.

A 6-3 win over North Canton Hoover propelled Twinsburg to the Final Four for the third time in school history, the others coming in 1990 and 2006.

Lucas Tinter allowed two runs on five hits in six innings to pick up the victory in moving to 6-1 on the season for the 12th-rated team in the state by Prep Baseball and unranked by the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association.

A.J. Taneja had a pair of RBI singles for Twinsburg while Josh Stalnaker went 2-3 with two runs scored. Stalnaker fanned a dozen in the regional semis, a 5-0 blanking of Wooster.

Twinsburg, which finished 6-17 in 2023 and 1-11 in the Suburban League, blanked Dover 3-0 behind a three-hitter from Tinter to win its first district championship since 2006.

Stalnaker hit a two-run triple to put the Suburban League National Conference co-champs on top in the sixth. Kris Kimmel, one of 12 seniors on the squad, had a two-run single in the top of the seventh in a 7-5 win over Hoban in the district semis.

Kimmel leads the team in batting at .397 with Stalnaker, an Ashland commit, hitting .350 to go along with a 7-1 pitching record.

OLENTANGY BERLIN: The Bears did not allow a run in the regionals, beating last year’s state runners-up Olentangy Orange 5-0 in the semifinals and Hilliard Bradley 2-0 in the finals.

Lake Erie commit Kyle Haag took a no-hitter into the sixth and finished with a one-hitter, striking out 10 to send Berlin to state for the first time ever.

Akron signee Taylor Bednar had a two-hitter with 10 Ks in the semifinals for the second-rated team in Ohio by Prep Baseball Report and fourth by the OHSBCA.

Maddox Pulliam, another Lake Erie signee for the Bears, hit two home runs in the semis and had an RBI double in the finals. Daniel Barrera, an Anderson commit, leads Berlin in batting with a .352 average while Haag is averaging .342 and shortstop Asher Dent .341 to go along with seven home runs.

Sophomore Breylen Jenzen is hitting .341 with catcher Parker McDaniels, a Cincinnati commit, batting .337. Bednar, who has the school record with 93 strikeouts, is now 9-0 on the season while Haag is 6-0 for Berlin, which had never made it to regionals before this season.

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