Skip to main content

Grove City gets past Mason 4-1 in OHSAA baseball Division 1 state semifinal behind Keegan Holmstrom

Holmstrom pitches well as Grove City knocks off Mason to advance to state championship game.
Grove City baseball Keegan Holmstrom Ryan Isley

AKRON, Ohio – Grove City pitcher Keegan Holmstrom pumped his fist, let out a scream, and grabbed catcher Grady Speegle. The sophomore had just watched his infield turn a game-ending double play to give the Greyhounds a 4-1 win over Mason in the OHSAA baseball Division I state semifinals.

It wasn’t the first time Holmstrom had worked out of trouble in the game, as Mason continued to get runners on base, but the lefty found a way out of multiple jams with runners on base without giving up a run.

“That’s my thing,” Holmstrom said. “You just have to stay focused and trust your stuff. If you give up baserunners, that’s alright. You have to have faith in your defense.”

Mason managed to get two runners on with no outs in both the fourth and sixth innings but could not push a run across in either inning as Holmstrom buckled down in the moment and made the pitches that needed to be made against the Comets lineup.

“He is cool, calm and collected,” Grove City head coach Ryan Alexander said. “He loves that moment, and it is never too big of a moment for him. I am so proud of that kid.”

Grove City got on the board early, as Dennis Ritlinger-Nirider hit an RBI double in the first inning to score Jackson Ware, who had already doubled. That run gave Holmstrom the confidence he needed.

“We got that early run, and it was 1-0,” Alexander said. “To give (Holmstrom) that run, I truly believe he thinks if we get him one run, he is going to win the game.”

The pitcher agreed with the assessment of his coach.

“I get that one run, and I’m like ‘yeah, I’m good,’” Holmstrom said.

Grove City didn’t just get one, however. 

The Greyhounds picked up three runs in the second inning by playing small ball. A walk followed by a bunt and an error set up Grove City with runners on the corners with nobody out. Trent Ruffing laid down another bunt, which scored a run and moved the other runner to second.

“It was some crazy small ball,” Alexander said. “But they gave us some opportunities and our guys made the most of them.”

Holmstrom followed with a single that ended up scoring a run when the left fielder misplayed the ball and Ware then singled him home to make it 4-0.

“That’s Grove City baseball,” Alexander said. “We are going to put the ball down and force you to make plays we aren’t going to strike out. We get baserunners on we are going to move them over.”

Holmstrom went the distance and allowed just four hits and struck out six.The win means Holmstrom has now won 15 starts in a row for the Greyhounds. While he celebrated the win as it happened, he knew there was still work to do.

“After that out is made, it’s a win,” Holstrom said. “But we have another job to do tomorrow.”