By BRAD BOURNIVAL
TIFFIN â€” Highland baseball coach Jeff Rollyson was looking for a Dick Weber somewhere on his baseball team.
Instead of a professional bowler seeking the perfect game, what the Hornets got was bowled over by Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 17-0 in the Tiffin Division II Regional final on Friday.
The seniors for the Warriors (26-3) walked onto Heminger Field, boasting a state championship in 2006, four regional appearances and a lofty 101-11 mark in a brilliant four-year stint.
The Hornets (15-13) found out the hard way just how good Walsh was in a game that lasted just five innings.
The Warriors now have a date with Springfield Regional winner Kenton Ridge as a result.
â€œWhen you play a team like this, the cards are stacked against you coming in,â€ Rollyson said. â€œItâ€™s a lot to ask a team to play a perfect game and thatâ€™s exactly what you have to do against Walsh.â€
The Hornets didnâ€™t exactly do that, committing two balks, three wild pitches, getting picked off twice and not being able to make the right decision on a fielderâ€™s choice when the Warriors were trying to give themselves up twice on a sacrifice bunt.
Walsh, which has outscored its opponents 53-2 in five postseason contests, took advantage of each and every opportunity, shelling the Hornets to the tune of 19 hits and blowing up the game early.
Bryce Sedio (4-5) lasted just 33 pitches, giving up six runs â€” all earned â€” on six hits in one inning of work.
Cory Johnston, Thursdayâ€™s starter, made it an inning and made just 22 pitches in a three-run, three-hit performance as the Warriors clubbed the Hornets for nine runs in the first two frames.
â€œOne through nine had tremendous focus today,â€ Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said. â€œWe donâ€™t care who we play or what the score is. Weâ€™re just playing against the game of baseball. All three phases were clicking for us today.
â€œIf you would have told me we would score 17 runs in the regional finals at the beginning of the season, I wouldnâ€™t have believed you. But weâ€™re an anomaly. Nothing these guys do surprises me.â€
It had to come as somewhat of a surprise that seven of the first nine batters reached for the Warriors, who outscored regional opponents 27-0 this season. It should have been shocking that everyone that batted save for one got a hit and all of them reached base at least once.
But it wasnâ€™t.
It wasnâ€™t because players like Joe Pawlowski (2-for-3, 4 RBI), Kevin Emmandorfer (4-for-4, 4 RBI) had field days on Highland pitchers.
The top part of Walshâ€™s order finished the afternoon 10-for-16 with 11 RBI and eight runs scored. Of those 10 hits, five came from the extra-base variety including a two-home run performance by Emmandorfer.
â€œWeâ€™ve been hot for a while,â€ Emmandorfer. â€œPlaying these guys, weâ€™ve beat them twice and have seen all their pitchers.
â€œTheyâ€™ve got a good team but you canâ€™t slow down.â€
Walsh never did and actually got scolded by Kaczmar for scoring just one run in the third to make it 10-0.
The Warriors, in turn, came out and put a two-spot up in the fourth and added five in the fifth.
â€œWe only got the one run in the third,â€ Emmandorfer said. â€œYou canâ€™t let up. We didnâ€™t.â€
Bournival may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-721-4045.