Archbishop Hoban baseball coach Jim Diestel has his defensive alignment the way he wants it and the Knights find themselves just four wins from winning a Division II state championship.
Hoban (18-10) will meet Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (16-12) at 5 p.m. Thursday in a regional semifinal at the Ballpark at Hudson. The Knights beat the Lions twice in North Coast League Blue Division matchups this season.
Diestel has been pleased with Hoban’s hitting and pitching for most of the season, and the Knights defense has gotten stronger with the return of senior catcher Anthony Osmun, who dislocated a thumb following a head-first dive into a base in April. He missed about a month of action, but has returned to the lineup to help Hoban defeat Streetsboro, Buckeye and Tallmadge in sectional and district play.
“Having Anthony back behind the plate solidifies our entire defense,” Diestel said. “It allows [senior] Austin Farber to play third base and [sophomore] Jordan Burns to play first base. Both of those guys played catcher when Anthony was out. We are very fortunate to have those two caliber of guys as backups.”
Osmun injured the thumb in a game against Mentor Lake Catholic. He wore a cast for two weeks and then spent another week and a half to strengthen to the thumb to get back to catching and hitting the ball.
“Having him back is very important,” Diestel said. “He really controls the game from behind the plate.”
Hoban’s middle infielders are seniors Cody Hargett (second base) and Sean Trexler (shortstop). The Knights outfield from left to right is seniors Tony Guerriero, Aaron Cain and Adam Gray. Senior Drew Lakos and junior Travis Pero anchor the pitching staff.
Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (20-7) and Canton South (24-4) will play in the other Hudson regional semifinal at 2 p.m. Thursday.
The Hudson regional semifinal winners will play for a regional title Friday at a time to be announced.