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Published: Thursday, 6/10/2010

Sidelines: Ottawa Hills made it to D-IV state semifinals

Ottawa Hills outfielder Kyle Jarecki almost comes up with a sliding catch against Fort Loramie. It was the eighth state strip for the Green Bears. Ottawa Hills outfielder Kyle Jarecki almost comes up with a sliding catch against Fort Loramie. It was the eighth state strip for the Green Bears.

In its best baseball season in school history, Southview (24-4 overall) was able to repeat its Northern Lakes League championship with a 12-2 league mark. But the 10th-ranked Cougars simply did not have an answer for their nemesis of 2010, NLL runner-up Perrysburg (26-6, 11-3), which truly had the Cougars' number. The third-ranked Yellow Jackets swept Southview in three meetings — 2-1 and 4-1 in league play behind junior ace Alec Schmenk — and again 5-4 in a Division I regional semifinal showdown that saw the Jackets rally from behind in the final two innings.

Perrysburg's tourney ride ended the next day, however, when veteran coach Dave Hall's Yellow Jackets fell 7-6 to Olmsted Falls in a regional final in Mansfield. Southview's only other season loss came against third-ranked D-II state semifinalist Defiance, which rallied in the seventh inning for a 4-3 win over the Cougars at Fifth Third Field.

The deepest tournament run made by a local team was Ottawa Hills' advancement to the D-IV state semifinals. It was the eighth state trip for the Green Bears (19-11), including seven under 30th-year coach Chris Hardman. The Bears ultimately fell 13-1 to Fort Loramie in the semifiinals in Columbus. In the Toledo Area Athletic Conference, Ottawa Hills and preseason favorite Toledo Christian had to take a back seat to Northwood (17-9, 11-1 TAAC), which won its first league baseball title since 1989, when the Rangers shared a Suburban Lakes League title with Eastwood and Genoa.

Falling one win shy of Columbus in the D-III tourney was 2007 state runner-up Elmwood (24-5), which upset top-ranked Coldwater 5-3 in the regional semifinals only to fall 6-4 in the regional final at Elida to second-ranked Bellville Clear Fork, the eventual state champion. Before bowing out, however, veteran coach Kyle Reiser's Royals did pick up their 15th SLL title in the last 20 years behind pitching ace Adam Tyson, who was 9-0 on the mound, and batting leader Reid Rothenbuhler, who had 10 home runs this season.

Patrick Henry's run of state titles in D-IV ended at two years, as the Patriots () fell 13-10 in a regional semifinal against Delphos St. John's.

The City League championship became a family affair, as 24th-year Central Catholic coach Jeff Mielcarek's Fighting Irish (19-6, 10-1 CL) won their second league title in three years with an impressive 8-1 victory over St. John's Jesuit (24-4, 11-0) in the City championship CL's playoff finals. Mielcarek's senior son Travis, a left-handed pitcher, was selected MVP of the City playoffs, throwing a complete-game four-hitter against St. John's in the final.

North of the border, coach Craig Trychel's Bedford Kicking Mules followed up their 38-3, state semifinal finish of 2009 with a surprising 33-5 campaign this year. The Mules bowed out of the Michigan Division 1 tourney at the district level against Southeastern Confrence rival Saline. Bedford was paced by catcher Jared Kujawa at the plate, and by pitchers Dan Przeniczny and Trent Szkutnik on the mound.

Perennial D-3 Michigan power Blissfield (36-6) remains alive in tourney play, with the next stop for 43rd-year coach Larry Tuttle's Royals coming in Saturday's regionals at Madison Heights. Blissfield, led by the hitting and pitching of current junior Eric Schmidt, was state runner-up last year. The Royals have won seven state titles under Tuttle.

— Steve Junga

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