AKRON, Ohio — Gilmour Academy coach Jay Fowler enjoyed leading the Lancers baseball team this season, but for him it wasn’t about the wins and losses or achieving records.
The Lancers lost 4-2 to Dayton Chaminade Julienne in the OHSAA Division II state baseball championship Sunday at Canal Park. With the win, Chaminade Julienne repeated as state champions.
Despite the loss, Fowler said this season’s team was the best he had ever had during his 30-something years as a player or coach. Gilmour had never been to the state championship before, and Fowler appreciates the camaraderie his team exhibited this season.
“It’s a group of guys that I’m just so proud of that came together, care for each other, love another and have a great time together,” Fowler said.
The team will lose eight seniors, but Fowler hopes the team’s underclassmen can use the loss as motivation to improve in the offseason.
Trailing 4-1 in the seventh, sophomore Ben Demell singled, and senior Nick Christopher did the same, with Demell advancing to third. A run scored when Garrett Olsen hit into a double play, but the threat had been defused. For the last out, junior Marco Costabile flew out to center field.
“They came out and they fought,” Fowler said of the Lancers’ rally. “Unfortunately this one didn’t end the way we had hoped in terms of that fight, but I’m just so proud of them, that every single pitch they were ready to play whether it was the first or the last.”
Chaminade Julienne’s senior shortstop Nick Wissman provided insurance in the top of the seventh with a two-out, two run single to left to plate freshman Jack Downing and sophomore AJ Solomon. Wissman drove in all the runs for the Eagles, who finished with seven hits.
After a Wissman single in the third made it 2-0, Gilmour Academy sophomore Vinny Bandwen scored from third in the bottom of inning on a balk by Eagles pitcher Sebastian Gongora.
The Lancers finished the game with four hits, one each by Nick and Matt Christopher, Bandwen and Demell.
Lancers junior starting pitcher Joey Hollis threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out five.