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Chardon eyes history after beating Bishop Hartley 6-5 in OHSAA baseball Division II state semifinals

“We see what the football team has done the last couple years and their history. It’s time for us to make history now.”
Chardon baseball Ryan Isley

AKRON, Ohio – The Chardon football team has won two straight state titles and has been in the state championship game three years in a row. The baseball team has never been to the state championship game.

Until now.

The Hilltoppers secured their spot in the OHSAA Division II championship game against Archbishop Hoban with a 6-5 win on Friday night over Bishop Hartley in the state semifinals.

“We see what the football team has done the last couple years and their history,” Chardon head coach Brian Long said. “It’s time for us to make history now.”

But to make history, the Hilltoppers had to sweat out a close game in the semifinals.

Both teams scored a run in the first and then went scoreless for the next four innings. But then the floodgates opened for each side in the sixth inning.

Chardon started the scoring in its half of the inning when Stone Fawcett led off with a single and Leo Colombi drove him in with a triple. Colombi scored on a groundout by Kyle Maronde.

“It just felt good off the bat,” Colombi said of his triple. “I saw it drop and I heard the crowd.”

After Ethan Faber walked and Will Francis doubled, Christian Hall drove in Faber with a sacrifice fly and Francis scored after a Bishop Hartley error on a ball hit by Nolan Kirsh, who scored on a single by Heath Fetchik to make it 6-1.

“Once we got the crowd in to it, we just got going from there,” Colombi said.

But the Hilltoppers weren’t in the clear just yet because Bishop Hartley made noise in its half of the sixth as well.

A single and a hit by pitch were followed by a Rory Ralston RBI single to make it 6-2. And then the Hawks scored three more runs on a wild pitch and two errors to cut the deficit to just a single run. But Kirsh was able to induce a groundout to end the inning and keep Chardon in the lead heading to the final frame.

That’s when Long called on Hall to finish the game on the mound.

The senior did exactly that, retiring the Hawks in order in the seventh to finish the game and send the Hilltoppers to their first state championship game.

“That’s a great ball club over there,” Long said. “We are very fortunate to have Christian be able to come in for the seventh inning and close the door.”

Hall wanted the ball. And he let that be known to his coach.

“As soon as they called my name, I was ready to go,” Hall said. “I had been wanting the ball all game. Ever since the game got close, I was telling coach ‘give me the ball, give me the ball, give me the ball’ and he finally gave me the ball and let me do my thing.”

Kirsh picked up the win, going six innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out six. While he was tiring in that sixth inning, he was able to dig deep to get through it.

“There is no time like the present to put all of your energy into it,” Kirsh said. “I don’t want to have any regrets.”

Hall will take the mound in the state championship game for Chardon at 7:00 pm on Saturday, a moment he knows he will be ready for when the time comes.

“I am ready for the moment,” Hall said. “I am going to make sure I am prepared for tomorrow and I am just going to go out there and do what I do and have the Lord on my side.”

Hall, who has won two championship rings with the football team, looked at his hand when asked about adding another.

“I can’t wait to get that third one,” Hall said. “That’s ultimately the goal.”