JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Okaw Valley Middle School baseball won two games at the IESA Class A State Tournament this weekend and fininshed 3rd in the State with a record of 20-2.
The Timberwolves used a 1st round victory over Normal Epiphany on Friday, 6-1, to put them in the semifinal against Joliet St. Paul on Saturday morning. St. Paul stymied the Timberwolves, 8-1. But in the 3rd place game on Saturday afternoon, Okaw Valley built a 3-0 lead, one run at a time, to beat Jacksonville Our Savior, 3-1.
On Saturday, Joliet St. Paul (12-5) gradually built a lead, while limiting the Okaw offense. St. Paul knocked out 16 hits and just kept adding to their lead.
They led 1-0 after one inning, 2-0 after three innings and 4-0 after four innings. They led 5-0 in the 7th inning when a final 3 run rally was the coup de gras.
Austin Harshman took the hill for Okaw. He went six innings, but without run support he had to take the loss. He gave up 14 hits and five runs in six innings, while walking two and striking out two.
Hayden Francisco pitched the 7th giving up two hits and three runs.
St. Paul employed four doubles and four players had multiple hits, while Okaw had just four players hit safely and one, Harshman, with multiple hits.
State Class A
Joliet St. Paul 8, Okaw Valley 0
St. Paul 101 201 3--8-16-0
Okaw 000 000 0--0-5-2
Okaw stats: Austin Harshman 2-for-3; Austin Hill 0-for-1; Cody Drake 0-for-2; Garrett Fritz 1-for-3; Hayden Francisco 0-for-1; Hutson Dickens 0-for-2; Jared Bunill 1-for-3; Sam Hagerman 0-for-2; Tanner Coleman 0-for-3; Trey Yranell 1-for-3. Pitching (L) Harshman 6 IP, 5 runs, 14 hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks; Francisco 1 IP, 3 runs, 2 hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks.
After the A.M. loss, Okaw took stock and decided to win their final game of the year. They did, beating Jacksonville Our Savior, 3-1.
Hayden Francisco stepped back onto the mound and notched the victory at state, pitching a 2-hit, shutout over 5 and 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out one.
Garrett Fritz came in to pitch in the 6th and gave up the only Our Savior run, a solo home run.
Okaw exploded for 10 hits in the 3rd place game. Five players hit safely and four of the five had multiple hits. Okaw went up 1-0 in the 1st and made it 2-0 in the 2nd. They extended their lead to 3-0 in the 5th. Our Savior's one shot wasn't enough and Okaw took home the bronze.
Harshman had another two hits game, going 2-for-4. Austin Hill went 2-for-3. Fritz hit 3-for-4 and Trey Yarnell batted 2-for-4. Cody Drake had just one hit, but it was a double.
Class A State
Okaw Valley 3, Jacksonville Our Savior 1
Okaw 110 010 0--3-10-0
Savior 000 001 0--1-3-0
Okaw stats: Harshman 2-for-4, RBI; Hill 2-for-3; Drake 1-for-4, run, RBI; Frits 3-for-4, run; Francisco 0-for-3, run; Bunfill 0-for-3; Hagerman 0-for-3, run; Coleman 0-for-3; Yarnell 2-for-4, RBI. Pitching (W) Francisco 5.2 IP, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 BB. 1 K; Frits 1.1 IP, run, 1 hit, 0 BBs, 1 K.
*Watch for web updates and the Tuesday print edition for the complete story, stats, and photos.