HUDSON: It’s fair to say nobody saw this coming.

It’s also probably fair to say Talllmadge has a repeat on its my mind, though nobody was quite willing to say that. But after the way the Blue Devils dismantled Canfield Friday at the Ball Park at Hudson, why not say that?

An 11-run third inning propelled defending state champion Tallmadge to a 17-0, five-inning rout in the Hudson Division II regional final. Next is a state semifinal against Dayton Chaminade-Julienne at 7 p.m. next Friday at Huntington Park in Columbus.

Yes, the Blue Devils (19-11) faced the same Canfield (21-9) they edged 3-2 in last year’s regional final before winning last year’s title. But after taking a 3-0 lead in the first, they nearly batted around twice in a mind-boggling third-inning explosion.

“If you asked me last year after beating them 3-2 using the small-ball technique,” said senior right fielder Seth Gergely, “that we were going to come in here next year in a rematch in the final again and beat them 17-0, I would have called you crazy.

“It’s insane. I have no idea where that even came from.”

Tallmadge put together seven hits, three walks and a hit batsmen, plus two Canfield errors, to send 17 batters to the plate and build a 14-0 lead.

Run-scoring singles by winning pitcher Jared Burick (7-1) and Jake Rensel started the fun. After two outs, the next 10 batters reached base.

The Cardinals made two pitching changes in the inning, trying to stem the tide. But it didn’t matter.

An RBI double by Sam Seeker, two-run triple by Gergely, two-run double by Scott Seeker and RBI single by Andrew Ayres were the big blows. A bases-loaded walk to Sam Seeker forced in the last run of the long inning.

The Blue Devils collected 14 hits altogether, with Gergely, Scott Seeker, Burick and Rensel each getting two. Zach Boyd scored four runs, with Gergely and Scott Seeker each scoring three.

“Made my job a lot easier,” said Burick, a senior right-hander and Wright State recruit. “Just had to go out and throw strikes and trust my defense, and that’s what I did. And we got the job done.

Burick, who won the state title game against Chaminade-Julienne 4-0 last year, allowed just two hits, no walks and struck out two in four innings. Senior Mikah McGlaughlin pitched a scoreless fifth.

Boyd singled in Gergely with the game’s first run, Burick doubled in Boyd and Rensel’s groundout scored Scott Seeker for a 3-0 lead.

Tallmadge added three more in the fourth with Gergely, Derek Lightel and Ayres getting hits.

“I was just so happy to get the first one across, calm down our team and get the whole ball rolling for us,” said Boyd, a senior and Morehead State recruit who pitched Tallmadge’s 8-0 regional semifinal win over Revere Thursday.

Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn said his team went through batting practice before arriving at the field Friday, concentrating on taking outside pitches to the opposite field and up the middle. The approach apparently paid off.

“I was trying to figure out all night and day what we were going to have to do to get by by one again,” Linn said. “Getting three runs right away was huge. Sometimes being the visitor is not all bad. The pressure’s on them to shut you down and it worked out pretty good.

“That settles a guy [Burick] down right away, just knowing he’s got a little cushion right off the bat. He’s worked real hard. He’s just put a lot of time in. Everything that’s come his way, he’s deserving.”

And what about those chances of winning another state title, coach?

“We’re just going to start off with that state semi game,” said Linn. “If we get through that one, then we’ll start thinking repeat.”