|The Canal Winchester High School varsity baseball team had a successful season finishing 22-13 and winning the Division II Central District title. The team advanced to the state tournament at Cooper Stadium in Columbus where they won a dramatic come from behind extra inning game 6-5 over Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in the state semi-finals on June 5. The team then headed to the state championship game on June 7 where they were defeated by Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 6-0. Team members are, from left to right: (front row) Michael Young, Justin Whitlach, David Duncan, Brad Duncan, Cory Spelman, Grant Dosch, O. J. Green, Ben Feeny; (second row) Assistant Coach Jeff Mayzum, Head Coach Jason Vest, Tyler Griffith, Joey Butler, Wes White, Michael Romanowski, Bryan Bogart, Tyler Steube, Drew Dosch, Matt Romanowski, Assistant Coach Jay Bartos, and Assistant Coach Scott Searing.|
Nearly 60 years is a long time to wait between rounds of making it to the state tournament in high school baseball, but for one Canal Winchester family, it was a momentous event.
In 1949, Tom Bartholomew was one of two freshmen serving on a Canal Winchester Indian team that made it to the state semi-finals.
On June 7, his grandson-Wes White, a pitcher and shortstop-played in the Division II state tournament final game at Cooper Stadium against Walsh Jesuit High School.
The June match was the first time since Bartholomew played baseball 59 years ago that a Canal Winchester baseball team qualified for the state tournament. The grandfather said he watched with pride from the bleachers as his young protégé followed in his footsteps out on the field.
Although the Indians lost the final game 6-0, with Walsh Jesuit scoring two runs in both the first and second innings and single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, White said the team was happy with their performance throughout the tournament-one in which the Indians were not projected to advance far.
The team, coached by Jason Vest, ended the season with a 22-13 record.
"We have a new coach this year and a young team and we got off to a pretty good start," said White, who is now a senior and hopes to attend college on a baseball scholarship and major in the math or science field. "We finished fourth in the league and then we got a tournament draw for the district. We were matched up against teams we played before in doubleheaders and beat both times.
"When we ended up winning the district, everything else that came after it was icing on the cake. To get to the regionals was a big thing and we weren’t expected to go that far. We got a few breaks-good hops here and there. They’re (Walsh Jesuit) probably the best team we’ve seen all year. It took us a couple of innings to adjust to their speed and we were able to hold them pretty well after that. We’re not too disappointed to get second in the state. It makes you feel pretty good."
White, who is also a varsity golfer and on the basketball team, said he first started playing organized baseball at age seven and credits his love for the game to his father and grandfather, who came to all of his games. As for the connection with state-level competition, White felt the situation was remarkable.
"For something like that to happen, to skip a whole generation, is pretty amazing," commented White. "It’s something he and I can share."
Bartholomew said his grandson’s team played "fantastic execution ball" and he was proud of their accomplishments. Although he was one of 15 team members to go to the state semi-finals in 1949, before losing to Taylor High School (who went on to win the state championship that year) 3-1 at Ohio State, he did not make it into the game as an outfielder.
"Just the starting nine played in the semi-final game," recalled Bartholomew, "but I finally got to play a little more the next year. When we went to state, we won the southern section of the Franklin County League and then went on to win in the district over Pickerington, Centerburg, and Columbus St. Mary’s.
"At the regionals, we beat Sugarcreek and Cardington to make it to the state semi-finals. After the state competition, on June 4 we played in the county final and won the championship. Roger Hanners pitched a no-hitter against Mifflin in that game. Our coach was Bill Black, who coached Hamilton Township to a state championship title in 1947. Wendell Shoemaker played for Coach Black on Hamilton’s championship team and was a leftfielder on our team in 1949."
Time and age may separate White and Bartholomew, but the special bond they share through baseball is a home run on any scorecard of memories.