Archbishop Hoban baseball coach Jim Diestel has a 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, but has returned to the lineup and helped 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 strengthening the thumb to get back to catching and hitting.
“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.
Brunswick’s 1-2 punch
Seniors Kyle Michalik and Gerry Salsbury provide a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the pitching rotation for Brunswick’s baseball team, which is 20-9 and will play Mentor (22-5) in a Division I regional semifinal at 5 Thursday at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium in Canton.
Salsbury tossed a four-hitter to help Brunswick beat Twinsburg 3-2 in a district semifinal Friday. Michalik threw a one-hit shutout to guide the Blue Devils to a 3-0 win over the host Hudson Explorers in a district final Saturday.
“Both of those kids have been doing that all year,” Brunswick coach Todd Winston said. “You got upper 80s and at times they are hitting low 90s. They command the zone and they get everybody involved [defensively].
“To only give up one earned run in two games in a district is pretty impressive. It starts and ends on the mound.”
Michalik and Salsbury are also key hitters in a lineup that includes senior Kyle Burson, junior Cory Welsh and senior Kyle Wheeler.
Brunswick shared the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division title with Mentor, Strongsville and Medina. All four teams were 7-3 in league play.
“We played the toughest schedule in the state,” Winston said. “In last week’s poll, we had played seven of the top 19 teams in the state.”
Aurora (26-4) and North Canton Hoover (22-7) will meet in the other semifinal in Canton at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The semifinal winners will play for a regional title at 5 Friday.
Orrville, Dalton advance
Two other area baseball teams qualified for regional play. Orrville (15-13) will play Wickliffe (13-12) in a Division III regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Thursday at Massillon. Dalton (21-7) will meet Cuyahoga Heights (13-8) in a Division IV regional semifinal at 3 p.m. Thursday at Copley.
Hoover softball at regional
North Canton Hoover is one of five area softball teams that won district titles and will play in a regional tournament.
Hoover, which is seeking its third consecutive Division I state title, is 30-0 and will play Gahanna Lincoln (24-6) at 5 p.m. Thursday on the Ohio State University campus.
Medina (22-7) will play Austintown Fitch (20-7) at 5 p.m. Thursday at the regional hosted by the University of Akron.
Fairless (24-4) and Walsh Jesuit (24-5) have Division II regional semifinal games scheduled at Firestone Stadium. Fairless will play Canfield (18-8) at 5 p.m. Wednesday and Walsh will play Geneva (21-2) at 5 p.m. Thursday.
In Division III, Sandy Valley (21-7) and Milan Edison (23-7) will play in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Thursday at Ashland’s Brookside Park.
Walsh coaching changes
Walsh Jesuit Athletic Director Grant Conzaman announced coaching changes on the Warriors staff.
Joe Denton has stepped down as the Walsh boys golf coach and Mike Richetto has been elevated to head coach.
In girls volleyball, Andy Kerr has been named Walsh coach in place of Missy Sturm, who stepped down.
Scott Zackaroff is Walsh’s new boys soccer coach. He will take over for John Kissner, who stepped down.
Richetto, Kerr and Zackaroff all served as assistant coaches at Walsh.
Stow’s Kolke picks college
Stow senior KC Kolke signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and soccer careers on scholarship at Lake Erie College in Painesville.
Kolke, who has a 4.1 grade-point average, was recruited to play defense and plans to major in accounting. He earned four varsity letters under coach Kyle Kosmala and served as a team captain.
Kolke was a three-time All-Northeast Ohio Conference selection and a two-time All-district selection in soccer. He also plays on the Stow baseball team.
Highland’s Kluk signs
Highland senior Adam Kluk accepted an athletic scholarship to Findlay University, where he will wrestle.
Kluk was a four-time state qualifier and a three-time state placer. He placed third at the Division I state meet at 195 pounds this season after winning sectional and district titles.
Kluk was also named All-Suburban League, and won regular-season titles this season at 195 at the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament at Firestone and the North Canton Holiday Tournament. He also earned three letters in football.
Football recruiting tidbits
Canton McKinley sophomore quarterback Eric Glover-Williams has been offered a scholarship by West Virginia, according to Scout.com. Glover-?Williams, who is 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, also has offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee and Pittsburgh. . . . Canton McKinley junior linebacker Jamal Davis has been offered a scholarship by Indiana, according to Scout.com. Davis, who is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, also has offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Louisville, Toledo and Western Michigan.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.