COLUMBUS, Ohio — Huntington Park in downtown Columbus, home of Cleveland Indians’ AAA affiliate Columbus Clippers, plays host to the OHSAA baseball state tournament for the ninth-straight year, as the high school baseball state tournament celebrates its 90th year.
The tournament welcomes 16 schools across four divisions to Huntington Park, which has received ballpark of the year honors annually since its opening in 2009. The 200,000 square foot facility can host a capacity of 10,100 spectators and provides a unique and special atmosphere for the highest level of Ohio high school baseball.
The action begins on Thursday with Division III state semifinals, followed by Division II state semifinals. On Friday, Divisions IV and I take to the field, with the four state championships slated for Saturday. Game times each day are 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets are $8 per person and are good for admittance to all games during the day that the ticket is purchased. Spectrum Sports, the official television partner of the OHSAA, will televise and live stream (for Spectrum subscribers) all four state championship games and the OHSAA Radio Network will carry a live broadcast of all state semifinal and final games.
State semifinals in Division III will begin the state tournament, with Bellville Clear Fork (18-11) facing second-ranked Warren Champion (25-3) on Thursday at 10 a.m., followed by top-ranked Berlin Hiland (30-0) taking on No. 16 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (23-7) at 1 p.m.
Clear Fork is making its third trip to the baseball state tournament and its second-consecutive visit to Columbus. The Colts fell to Apple Creek Waynedale by a final tally of 6-3 in the 2016 OHSAA Division III baseball state semifinals. Meanwhile, Warren Champion is back in the state tournament for the first time since 2005 and is seeking its first berth in a baseball state final.
Hiland is back in the state tournament after capturing the school’s first baseball state title in 2016 and for the second-straight year, the Hawks have reached the 30-win mark. Hiland is seeking to become the first undefeated OHSAA baseball state champion since Plain City Jonathan Alder (34-0) in 2010 and just the eighth unblemished state champion since 1971. The Hawks enter the weekend riding a 45-game winning streak dating back to last season. Facing Hiland will be No. 16 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, which is making its third state tournament appearance after finishing as state runner-up in 2014.
Taking to the field Thursday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. are the Division II state semifinalists. In the first state semifinal contest, No. 7 Steubenville (27-4) takes on Dayton Chaminade Julienne (21-4), then Maumee (22-9) faces Tallmadge (23-6) in the night-cap.
Steubenville Big Red is making its seventh appearance in the state tournament and is back in Columbus after falling in the state semifinals a year ago. Steubenville is seeking its first baseball state title and its third state final appearance. Facing the Big Red will be the Eagles of Chaminade Julienne, who are making their first trip to the baseball state tournament since 1975. Chaminade Julienne is looking to win its second baseball state title and its first since 1970.
Maumee is making just its second state tournament appearance and its first since 2001 when the Panthers finished as Division I state runner-up. Facing Maumee is Tallmadge, which is back in the state tournament after a 15-year hiatus. Tallmadge is making its sixth state tournament appearance and is seeking its second state title. The Blue Devils are 5-0 all-time in state semifinal games.
Friday’s action will begin with the Division IV state semifinals, which feature top-ranked Toronto (27-3) against No. 8 Minster (23-7) at 10 a.m. and Russia (23-6) facing Dalton (16-11) at 1 p.m.
Toronto is back in the state tournament for the first-time since 1998 and has already set its school record for wins in a season. The Red Knights are seeking their second state championship all-time. Minster is looking for its third state title since 2011 and is making its fourth state tournament appearance. The Wildcats are 3-0 all-time in state semifinal games.
Russia is back in the state tournament for the first time since 1975 and is looking for its second state title. The Raiders are 3-1 in state tournament contests. Their opponent is Dalton, which is making its second trip to the state tournament and first since 2005. The Bulldogs are seeking their baseball first state title.
Rounding out the state semifinal contests on Friday will be Division I, which features No. 7 West Chester Lakota West (25-5) against top-ranked Massillon Jackson (28-2) at 4 p.m. and Strongsville (23-8) taking on Lewis Center Olentangy Orange (22-9) at 7 p.m.
Lakota West is making its third state tournament appearance and first since 2008. The Firebirds are seeking their second state baseball crown. Their opponent is No. 1 Massillon Jackson, which is appearing in its third state tournament and is looking for its second Division I state title since 2014. The Polar Bears are seeking their second OHSAA state title this year after capturing Division I boys basketball state champion honors.
Strongsville is making its second baseball state tournament appearance and is seeking its second state crown. Facing Strongsville is Olentangy Orange, which is making its first trip to the state tournament. Some Delaware County residents may recall when Galena Orange finished as state runner-up in 1948 with a final record of 14-1.
Full coverage of the 90th annual OHSAA baseball state tournament can be found by visiting OHSAA.org and following the OHSAA on Twitter (@OHSAASports), Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.