Prep Baseball Report

2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division III State Final - No. 1 Heath vs No. 11 Millbury Lake

Bruce Hefflinger
Prep Baseball Ohio Senior Writer

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2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division III State Final - No. 1 Heath vs No. 11 Millbury Lake

AKRON - Heath jumped to a 3-0 lead after two innings and that was enough for Wyatt Binckley, who fired a five-hitter to give the top-rated team in Ohio a Division III state championship with a 3-1 win over Millbury Lake on Sunday.

"This is what you work for, this is what dreams are made of," said Heath head coach Tom Warren. "These guys had the goal in mind this is what they wanted to do. They've worked and worked the last four years and we did it. We did it. That's the first thing that came out of my mouth."

After an unearned run in the first, Heath put two on the board an inning later. Binckley walked and Connor Toomey hit a single with each moving up a base on a Paul Gould sacrifice bunt. Connor Corbett plated Binckley with a sac fly before Tannar Patterson brought home Toomey with a single to right.

"I knew it was different than yesterday," Patterson said of the opposing pitcher. "You just had to sit back on it and let it come to you."

Binckley made it stand up despite just one 1-2-3 inning in completing his final high school season at 9-0.

"The energy was unreal," the senior right-hander said. "I was a little jittery the first inning, but once we scored that first run it was lifted off my shoulders and it was back to the baseball we always play."

Lake tallied its only run of the game in the third on a walk, error and fielder's choice RBI groundout from Ryan Wagner.

After giving up three runs in the first three frames, Wagner kept the Flyers in the game, permitting no runs and just one hit in the third through sixth innings before Jay Blazevich came in to pitch a scoreless seventh. But the 11th-rated team in Ohio could not get it done at the plate against Binckley.

"He really setted in the later part," Warren explained. "He controlled his nerves early, enough to get us through the first couple of innings, and everyone settled in and we played great defense behind him."

That did not go unnoticed by Binkley.

"Our defense was impeccable," Binkley pointed out. "You've got to trust the guys behind you."

Patterson and Toomey each had a pair of hits for the Bulldogs, which won their final 13 games to finish the season at 28-2 after falling in the state semifinals a year ago.

"We sat down ther last year, it was dark, and we stood in the corner and these guys said we're coming back, we're coming back," Warren said. "With the format in Ohio, single elimination, that's not a guarantee. But they put their minds to it and they were right."

The Flyers, which had never made it to the state finals in school history, close at 28-5.


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Binckley did not give up an earned run in the five-hit performance, striking out five and walking two. The Heath senior threw 60 of 93 pitches for strike. In addition, Binckley walked and scored a run in the Heath second inning.

D-III TOURNEY MVPS: No obvious pick here so will go with co-winners, Patterson and Toomey. Patterson scored two runs in a 4-3 8-inning win over Waynedale in the semifinals and pounded out two runs with an RBI in the finals, while adding a big defensive play in both games at second base. Toomey produced the walk-off hit in the semifinals and had two hits with a run scored against Lake.

TROUBLE AT THIRD: Never make the third out of an inning at third base is a known baseball "rule" but the third inning was even worse for Lake. With runners on the corners and no outs, a pop out and stolen base put runners on second and third. A grounder to short resulted in a force out at third as a run was scoring - out number two of the inning. A pickoff attempt was then thrown wild, but Heath second baseman Patterson alertly ran down the throw and threw to third base to get the Lake runner trying to move up two bases on the play - out number three of the inning and the seccond at third base.

BACK AT YOU: Lake returned the favor in the top of the seventh at third base. After a leadoff infield hit by the speedy Toomey, Gould put down a beautiful bunt that Wagner made a great play for the out. Lake first baseman Caleb Tobias then fired to Jack Sobzach at third to retire Toomey attempting to advance two bases.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Could 2025 be the year for Millbury Lake? Four of the top five in the batting order return and six total starters are back for head coach Casey Witt, whose Flyers have won 59 games in his three years at the helm. ... The one-two hitters in the lineup, Corbett and Patterson, are impressive but the Bulldogs are a senior-laden team. However, with two straight trips to Akron the Bulldogs are certainly becoming a program to watch out for in the future. Patterson, who was the starting pitcher at state last year but did not throw this season due to an injury, is expected to lead the pitching staff.


Heath               120  000  0  -  3  5  2
Millbury Lake  001  000  0  -  1  5  3

Records: Heath 28-2, Millbury Lake 28-5.

Winning Pitcher:  Wyatt Binckley (7 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Ryan Wagner (7 innings, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Leading Hitters: (Heath) - Connor Corbett single, run; Tannar Patterson 2 singles, RBI; Wyatt BInckley run; Connor Toomey 2 singles, run. (Millbury Lake) - Gavin Kohlhofer run; Jay Blazevich single; Ryan Wagner single, RBI; Jack Sobzach single; Aiden Young single; Connor Eck single.

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