The Jackson baseball team won the Division I state championship last weekend in Columbus and received a national ranking this week.
Jackson is ranked No. 45 in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 50 Baseball Rankings following its victories over Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller in a state semifinal and North Royalton in the state final at Huntington Park in Columbus.
“That’s news to me,” Jackson coach Bill Gamble said when told of the ranking. “I didn’t know. That is awesome. That is a huge honor for our program. I think this is a credit to this 2014 team and what they accomplished, and I think that is a credit to the schedule we play against during the regular season and postseason. You’re talking about teams such as Mentor, Hudson, North Canton, Lake, Moeller and North Royalton.”
The Polar Bears (26-5) featured a veteran group with 14 seniors.
Sophomore Sam Miller and senior Tim Turner pitched effectively all season. Miller finished 8-0 with one save and a 0.89 ERA in 49 innings. Turner went 7-0 with two saves and a 1.01 ERA in 49⅔ innings.
Seniors Kyle Mottice, Seth Vellucci, Jake Miller, Michael McCann and Jake Sima all had solid hitting years along with junior Jacob Kempt.
Mottice hit .488 with 42 hits, 16 RBI and 32 runs. Jake Miller batted .389 with 37 hits, 29 RBI and 24 runs.
Vellucci (.341, 30 hits, 17 RBI, 18 runs), McCann (.338, 25 hits, 25 RBI, 15 runs), Kempt (.309, 21 hits, 22 runs) and Sima (.305, 25 hits, 12 runs) also batted over .300.
Seniors AJ Kloehn and Brennan Dingler also held down starting roles with sophomore Jake Pallotta. Seniors Mitch Aman, Tyler Langenfeld, Beau Wiley and Zach Dickens contributed as reserves.
McCann, seniors Ryan Gusbar and Sam Williams and juniors Zach Meese and Brent Solinger rounded out Jackson’s pitching staff.
“It was a great run this season,” Gamble said. “It still doesn’t seem real. I am real excited for our community.”
All-star football game
The inaugural Ohio-Michigan Border Classic will be held on Saturday at Donnell Stadium in Findlay.
The football game is set to kick off at 1 p.m. and tickets are $5 at the gate.
Here are Akron-area players who are scheduled to play for Ohio with their name, position, high school and college: Trevahn Beery, DB, Norwayne, Western Michigan; Alex Conley, OL, Walsh Jesuit, Duquesne; Jamal Davis, LB, Canton McKinley, Pittsburgh; Nate Dever, OL, Massillon, Cincinnati; Jake Hanzel, DL, Manchester; Kaleb Harris, WR, Norwayne, Marshall; Mike Knoll, PK, Walsh Jesuit, Boston College; Parrish Martin, DB, Alliance; Tre’Von Richardson, DL, Canton McKinley; and Marcus Whitfield, WR, Massillon, Toledo.
Three Cleveland Glenville graduates and Ohio State recruits are also scheduled to play for Ohio: Davon Anderson, RB; Marshon Lattimore, WR; and Erick Smith, DB.
Mike Fell of Lima Senior will be the Ohio coach.