Posted: Jun 10, 2019
By: Kristy Booher Angelo, Associate Athletic Director
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The 2019 Lancer varsity baseball team (25-7) officially made the Gilmour Academy record books as the most successful team in program history. The team's historic season, which included such milestones as tying a program-best 25 wins and notching an 18-game winning streak among other things, ended on June 9 with the honor of OHSAA Division II State Runner-Up. It was the first time a Gilmour baseball team made it to the championship game. The Lancers previously earned a trip to the Division III state semifinal game back in 2008, but that ended in a loss.
This year's trip to the final four was victorious at the semifinal level as Gilmour defeated St. Clairsville, 2-0. Ben DeMell '21 pitched a complete game, striking out eight in the shutout. That strikeout total allowed him to surpass the 100-strikeout mark, earning him another individual season record for the program. The win also took his record to 11-1, tying the program record for single-season wins.
In the semifinals, Gilmour plated its first run after leadoff hitter Matt Christopher '20 walked to start the game. He advanced to second on a bunt from Jack Krebs '19 and then went to third on a fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI single by Nick Christopher '19. The team then added an insurance run in the fourth after Nick Christopher started the inning with a single. He was sacrificed to second by Garrett Olsen '20 and then scored on an RBI single by Marco Costabile '20.
In the state championship game the following day, Gilmour went up against Ohio's top-ranked team, defending state champion Chaminade Julienne High School out of Dayton. The Lancers had four hits, including a single in the bottom of the third by Vinny Banden '21. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then moved to third on the same play when the first and second basemen collided after the play and the ball rolled to right field. He then scored on another miscue as the Chaminade pitcher was called for a balk.
Trailing 4-1 in the final at bat, the Lancers rallied in the bottom of the seventh as DeMell singled and Nick Christopher followed to put runners on the corners with no outs. DeMell scored on a double play ball before a fly out to centerfield ended the hopes of a championship for the Lancers. Starting pitcher Joey Hollis '20 went 6 and 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out five to finish his junior campaign with a record of 7-1.
Lancer head coach Jay Fowler '00 was proud of the team for its performance in the final four, as well as its success leading up to the finals, but cited the character of the players as to what he's most proud of this season.
"It's a group of guys that came together and care for each other, love one another and have a great time together. They built a culture for Gilmour baseball that is going to extend for many generations," said Fowler.