LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (WCMH) — The Olentangy Orange baseball team is experiencing one of its most successful seasons in school history. The Pioneers beat defending region champion Grove City 6-1 last week to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2017 and just the second time ever.
The 24-man team is led by 17 seniors who have been through the wringer during their four-year career. Their freshman season was canceled because of COVID-19, their sophomore season came to an end in the region final and their junior year ended unexpectedly in the district semifinals. That loss gave Orange the motivation and focus it needed to make this year possible.
“It’s unbelievable. I mean obviously, this is just stuff that you dream of,” senior shortstop Charlie Scholvin said. “The ups and downs we’ve had with injuries all throughout the season, just for us to persevere through and get this far and make school history and hopefully make further history, I mean it’s just been a crazy experience.”
Scholvin is one of several Pioneers who was injured at some point this season after breaking his collarbone, hand and punctured a lung in a collision with left fielder Luke Shearer. Scholvin was able to return for the region final last week while Shearer was lost for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Middle infielder James Wimsatt also missed several games with a broken nose.
But Orange kept finding a way to win, capturing 22 victories and counting this season, and now find themselves two wins away from a state championship.
“The fact that we can come out on gamedays and have people that haven’t got much playing time at a certain position and still come out and play is just impressive,” said senior first baseman Diego Astacio who’s batting .475 with 27 runs scored. “We just trust each other and go out there and do us.”
The Pioneers will face Anthony Wayne at 1 p.m. Thursday in Akron at Canal Park.