Sunday, June 03, 2001

CCD wins state baseball title


7th-inning runs clinch crown for Indians

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — The emotional outburst by the Cincinnati Country Day baseball team after winning the Division IV state championship was long overdue.

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CCD's Brett Smith exults after striking out the final batter.
(Steven M. Herppich photos)
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        After showing little emotion after Friday's semifinal victory over Windham, the CCD players piled on the pitcher's mound to celebrate the 4-2 victory over Ottawa Hills Saturday at Cooper Stadium.

        “We knew there was another game to go,” catcher Joel Ellison said of Friday's brief show of emotion. “We made up for it today. This means a lot and is the greatest feeling.”

        The state baseball championship is the Indians' second. The first title was in 1993, also under coach Tim Dunn. This was CCD's fourth appearance in the state final four. The Indians lost in the '59 and '90 semifinals.

        “It's hard to give you an answer,” Dunn said when asked which championship was better. “We surprised everyone in 1993, but this year we thought going into the season that we could win it.”

        The victory didn't come easily.

        Tied 2-2 going into the seventh inning, CCD (30-3) took advantage of two throwing errors by Ottawa Hills to take a 3-2 lead.

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LF Andrew Chahrour makes an over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track.
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        With one out, CCD winning pitcher Brett Smith singled to center field. Asif Shah put down a bunt, but third baseman Pat Ryan's throw pulled James Brewster off the bag at first.

        Then, in an effort to get Smith out at second, Brewster threw the ball into left center field. Ottawa Hills left fielder Bryan Rhoads had come in to back up third base, and the ball rolled into the open field.

        Smith scored from second base, which turned out to be the winning run. Joel Ellison followed with a single that scored Shah, who had gone to second on the previous error.

        “I debated about bunting or letting Asif hit away,” Dunn said. “But my philosophy is that when you put down a good bunt in high school, things tend to happen,”

        Ottawa Hills coach Chris Hardman made no excuses.

        “I knew when (Brett) Smith came in to pitch, we were in trouble,” Hardman said. “We just didn't get enough runs off their starter (Noah Allen) and commited too many errors, which is not characteristic of this team.”

        Allen pitched the first five innings, allowing two runs and three hits before he was taken out for Smith. Smith also was the winning pitcher against Windham in the semifinals.

        “My curve was off until the third inning,” Allen said. “I just wanted to keep us in the game, because I knew Brett could come in for me.”

        Allen gave up one run in the first inning and another on a home run by Bryan Rhoads in the fourth.

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Joel Ellison hugs Smith
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        “The home run was my fault,” said catcher Ellison, who drove in the insurance run in the seventh. “I was supposed to call a curve, but I misread the sign from the bench and called for a fastball.”

        When asked to pitch in the sixth, Smith was ready. He struck out six, while allowing an infield single in the sixth inning and another single with two out in the seventh.

        “I was pumped,” said Smith, who made several good defensive plays at shortstop. “I think I threw harder today than any time this season. No matter how I do in the future, I'll always have this championship to look back on.”

        To prepare the Indians for the season, Dunn stacked CCD's schedule with Division I powers such as Moeller, Loveland, Anderson, Walnut Hills and Western Hills.

        “I think this definitely helped us,” Dunn said. “We played these teams pretty even, and the kids gained a lot of confidence and knew they could beat anyone.”

        CCD ....... 100  010  2—4  5  1

        Ottawa Hills ....... 100  100  0—2  4  4

        WP—Smith (6 ks). LP—Jamieson. Hitting Leaders: CCD—Duty 1-3, 2 RS; Chahrour 1-4; Smith 1-3, 1 RS; Shaw 1-1, RBI, RS; Ellison 1-3, RBI. OH—Crooks 1-4, RS; Mattingly 1-3; Rhoads 1-3, HR, RBI, RS; Zangara 1-3. Records: CCD 30-3, OH 23-9.

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