Jonathan Alder High Schools varsity baseball team celebrates on the field after winning the Div. II state championship.
The Pioneers took home the Div. II state baseball title on June 6 with a 3-2 win over Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
Coach Craig Kyle has tentatively set June 30 as a day for a public celebration of his teams accomplishment. The event, set for 7 p.m. at the high school stadium, will not only celebrate the state win but a season of all wins.
"From the beginning, we preached the importance of doing the little things—like bunting, moving runners over, putting pressure on other teams to make plays—and those little things added up to 34 wins and a state championship," said Kyle, whos obviously very happy with his first year at the helm of Alders program.
Kyle said he knew before the season started he had a good team, so he loaded the schedule with tough opponents. His players beat the likes of New Albany, who went on to make the Div. I regional finals, Bellefontaine, who made the Div. II district finals, and Lakewood, who made the Div. II state final four.
"It set us up to believe even more that we could compete with anyone in the state," Kyle said.
And so they did. Their final opponent, Walsh Jesuit, was indeed a formidable foe. The northeast Ohio team was ranked in the country and has six players moving on to Div. I college baseball.
"We just made a few more plays than they did. The win is a testament to our players for not giving up and for believing they could win," Kyle said.
Alder pitcher Zach Maynard was the key to the defense in the championship game, giving up only four hits.
On offense, Nate Squires pulled off a suicide squeeze, bringing a runner in from third off a bunt when his team was down 1-0 in the fourth inning. Two innings later, he tallied another RBI to bring Alder to a 3-1 lead.
"These two guys did a great job, but ultimately it was a team effort," Kyle said. "(Walsh Jesuit) had a lot of good players, but ultimately we had the best team."