MACEDONIA, Ohio – One pitcher came into the OHSAA baseball Division I district semifinal between Walsh Jesuit and Ellet at Nordonia High School as the one everyone was talking about. When all was said and done, his opponent was getting all the accolades.
Walsh pitcher Ryan Piech blew everyone away on Tuesday, striking out 19 hitters in a 4-0 win and allowing just a single hit.
Piech struck out the first two hitters of the game and then struck out the side in the second and third after the leadoff hitter reached on an error in each inning. He was then perfect through the next two innings, striking out the side in each.
When he stuck out the leadoff hitter in the sixth, it was the 10th straight batter he had fanned. After a walk and a fielder’s choice, he ended the sixth with his 16th strikeout of the day.
He entered the seventh inning not having given up a hit in the game and struck out the leadoff hitter before Cameron Allen hit a single to right field for Ellet’s first hit of the game. Piech responded by striking out the next two hitters to end the game.
“I felt great out in the pen, I was really spinning my stuff well,” Piech said. “All four pitches were working. I was spotting my fastball and then working on my off speed off that.”
Piech was on point with all of his pitches, hitting in the low 90s on his fastball and then throwing his curveball, circle changeup and knuckle curve to keep the Ellet hitters off balance.
“He’s been throwing the ball well in the second half of the season,” Walsh head coach Chris Kaczmar said. “His velocity has been up. The thing with that is he is able to throw some devastating off speed pitches for strikes as well.”
On the other side, it was Allen who was dealing for the Orangemen. The junior was getting a lot of attention after a no-hitter on May 9th against Firestone and a 2-hitter in which he struck out 18 against St. Vincent-St. Mary on April 23rd.
Allen retired the Warriors in order in the first two innings, and needed just 14 pitches combined to do so.
But in the third, Walsh broke through. With two outs, Andrew Gormley laid down a bunt single and then stole second base. Joey Canzoni singled to right to score Gormley and give Walsh the early lead. It was the kind of small ball Walsh knew it had to play to put runs on the board against Allen.