Louisville Leopards vs. 2022 College Schools Preppers Baseball Regional Semifinal
#19 Louisville 3, #11 University School 0
The No. 19-ranked Louisville Leopards baseball team shut out the No. 11-ranked Varsity Schools Preppers 3-0 Thursday night in the DII Canton Regional Semifinals at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium. With their eighth straight win, Louisville moves to 22-9 and advances to face the No. 24-ranked Chardon Hilltoppers in the DII Canton Regional Championship on Friday, June 3 at 5:00 p.m. from Thurman Munson.
College box score
Warner Fans 10 in 1-Hit Shuout
Senior starting pitcher Anthony Warner threw a complete shutout on one hit to lead the Leopards to victory on the mound. He pitched all seven innings, walked three and struck out ten to go 9-0 on the season. Warner’s ninth win ties him with Riley Groves (2012) and Heath Hinkle (2004) for the most pitched single-season wins in team history.
Warner walked a second inning for his only blemish in his first time in the varsity school lineup. He retired the team at third and added a pair of strikeouts as he retired the team in order at fourth.
Warner Works Out of Jams in 5th and 6th
The Preppers’ best opportunity came in the top of the fifth. First-year second baseman Aaron Moss started the inning with a walk. Then, sophomore right fielder Riley Penn recorded the only varsity school hit of the contest on a line single just over the outstretched glove of jumping senior shortstop JT Popick. With two out and no one out, Warner grounded the next batter in a 6-4 outfielder pick in senior third baseman Caleb Miller. This left runners in the corners with just one out.
Two pitchers later, senior catcher Walker Kandel downed junior pinch runner Sammy Martin at second base. Popick paid the price by applying the tag to the game, but held on for the second out of the frame. The game was delayed a bit as coaches came to fix Popick. On the next pitch after recovering from the hit, senior first baseman Ryan Tyler hit a ground ball directly to Popick. Popick made a routine pitch to first base to record the last out of the inning.
The Preppers again threatened in the sixth inning. Senior left fielder Jae Smith hit a ground fly to first base, but the rally with Warner covering the sack missed, allowing Smith to reach by mistake. Another error on an errant out attempt allowed Smith to advance to third base and put him within ninety feet of breaking the shutout. However, Warner finished junior center fielder Ryan Pattison with a strikeout to end the inning.
Warner would go on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning to seal the Leopards’ first regional win since 1988. Warner has now allowed just one earned run in 41 2/3 innings and pitched a complete shutout in three of his five last departures.
Popick and Adelman record multi-hit games
The Louisville offense wasted no time in rushing to another first-inning advantage. Popick ripped a single line drive to center field to get out of bounds. He then advanced to second base on a wild pitch and then stole third base. Popick scored a few pitches later when senior left fielder Connor Adelman picked the center to make it 1-0. Popick and Adelman would both finish 2-for-3 for the game to lead the Leopards to home plate.
Later in the third inning, Popick jumped on the first pitch he saw and hit a hard ground single to left field. Popick went second on a sacrificial bunt from junior center fielder Charlie Roberts before stealing third base. LHS would finish 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts throughout the game with Popick and Adelman slipping two sacks apiece. With two outs, junior designated hitter Karson Siegfried smashed an RBI double on the right field chalk line and in the corner. Popick scored his second inning of the game in the process to extend LHS’ lead to 2-0.
The only other extra base hit of the game came when Miller started the top of the sixth with a triple over the outfielder’s head in right field. Junior second baseman Connor Morley followed with an RBI groundout at second base that allowed Miller to drive home to extend the Leopard advantage to 3-0.
Shapiro retires 11 to lead varsity school
Junior starting pitcher Evan Shapiro pitched all six innings and struck out 11 to lead the Preppers in a losing effort. Shapiro retired Louisville’s batters in order in the second inning, but the Leopards were able to get a runner on board in every other inning. Louisville would have beaten University School 6-1 for the game.
The Leopards threatened to blow up the game late in the fourth when Shapiro threw back-to-back walks at Morley and Kandel. Shapiro hit senior right fielder Zack Seaman three pitches later to charge the bases. However, Shapiro forced Popick into contact on a control swing that returned to the mound for a 1-2-3 double play to end the set.
Louisville reached the elite eight for the third time
This is the third time in program history that Louisville Baseball has reached the Elite Eight. In 1942, the Louisville Blue Raiders defeated Akron Kenmore 4-3 to win the Class “A” title for the Northeastern District of Ohio. This put them in the state tournament, which at the time consisted of eight teams instead of four. In 1988, the Louisville Leopards shut out the Austintown Fitch Falcons by the same score of 3-0 in the Youngstown AAA Regional Semifinals to advance to their only other Regional Finals.
The Leopards will look to make history Friday night at Thurman Munson when they face a familiar foe. In their path will be the No. 24-ranked Chardon Hilltoppers, the DII Struthers District Champions. The Hilltoppers beat Richfield District champion Chagrin Falls 4-1 earlier Thursday afternoon at Thurman Munson. Louisville and Chardon are very familiar enemies who have already met three times during this campaign. The Hilltoppers won 12-5 in an eight-inning scrimmage on March 19. On April 16, the two teams shared a doubleheader, with the Leopards winning Game 1 7-4 and Chardon winning Game 2 4-2.
NEXT: The No. 19-ranked Louisville Leopards baseball team will face the No. 24-ranked Chardon Hilltoppers in the DII Canton Regional Championship Game on Friday, June 3. Game time is 5:00 p.m. at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium.
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Louisville vs. University School Box Score
LEOPARDS 3, PREPARERS 0
University School 000-000-0–0-1-0
Recordings: Louisville 22-9