WADSWORTH — Cameron Deemer struck out Highland’s Noah Suran and leaped into catcher Alex Laikos’ arms with his right index finger extended into the air.
The rest of the Wadsworth baseball team sprinted to the mound and pummeled the 5-foot-7, 160-pound star of the day until he fell to the ground.
It was a celebration fit for the World Series, but the Grizzlies didn’t care. They’re the outright Suburban League champions and no one can take that away from them.
Deemer turned the Wadsworth players into dreamers Wednesday, as his three-hitter spearheaded a 4-0 victory.
“I’m just excited for my team and excited to win the SLT,” he said. “It was a great game and exciting for me as a sophomore. It was fun, it was interesting and a great ‘W.’”
Making his third career start, Deemer (3-0, 0.92 ERA) allowed two singles to Landon Gonser and one to .460 hitter Yanni Patten. Deemer walked one, hit another and was remarkably consistent with a strikeout in each inning, including back-to-back K’s to slam the door.
Deemer was at his best when it mattered most, as a 6-4-3 double play got him out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second inning. The Hornets (8-14, 4-8) then loaded the bases in the seventh on a walk, error and single before Deemer struck out pinch-hitter Clay Sposit swinging and No. 9 hitter Suran looking.
That gave way to the celebration and Barbasol shaving cream pies to the faces of coach Greg Pickard and bearded designated hitter Aden Campbell.
“(Deemer) showed a lot of guts,” Campbell said. “He wasn’t going to beat people with his fastball, but he said, ‘Here’s my best and see if you can touch it,’ and he really gave a great performance. He’s going to be good in a couple years — real good.”
The Wadsworth (17-1, 11-1) offense dinked and dunked its way to four runs over its final three at-bats against starter Ryan Hepner (3-3, 2.55). Each batter in the lineup had one hit — only Kyle Pennington (double) went for extra bases — and a different player scored each run.
In what could be considered poetic justice, the hobbled Campbell was in the thick of it with a single in the fourth inning. Tyler Hevener pinch-ran for Campbell and scored the first run, and Campbell’s sacrifice fly plated speedy catcher Laikos in the fifth.
Campbell, a four-year starter and honor student, has been playing with an injured hamstring that has relegated him to DH most of the season.
“This was 10 years in the making,” Campbell said before getting plastered with shaving cream by Deemer. “Everyone here worked real hard ever since January in the offseason.
“My teammates put me in great position this season. They keep putting me in positions to contribute and help out, so I finally came through and I thank them for sticking with me.”
Wadsworth broke the deadlock with an RBI single by freshman A.J. Robinson that scored Hevener. Riley Campbell then made it 2-0 in the fifth by scoring on an error before Aden Campbell’s sacrifice fly brought in another run.
The Grizzlies added further insurance in the seventh when Robinson sacrificed Mason Egleston into scoring position, allowing Egleston to eventually score on an error.
The rest was up to Deemer, who loaded the bases with no outs until receiving a pep talk from pitching coach and Medina County Sports Hall of Famer Bill Gearhart. It worked, as Grant Loeding lined out to short before Deemer’s consecutive strikeouts.
“(Deemer) competes,” Pickard said. “No matter what, he competes. He’s done that all year.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.