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Baseball Faces Springboro In Epic District Championship Showdown On Monday

Posted on: May 20, 2016

SETTING THE SCENE: Two of the top-three teams in the State of Ohio will battle for Southwest District Championship bragging rights when the Milford High School baseball team takes on Springboro on Monday (May 23) at the Elder Sports Complex. First pitch is on tap for 5 p.m. The Panther Athletic Complex is located at 1915 Quebec AvenueNOT at the school address. The entrance is on Quebec Avenue, some of those mapping systems take you a different route.

The Eagles enter the game as the No. 1 seed in Cincinnati and the third-ranked team in Ohio, according to the final Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association rankings of the year. Springboro meanwhile, is the No. 1 seed in Dayton and ranked No. 2 in the state. Milford advanced to the district championship round with a 3-1 win over Lakota East on Thursday, while Springboro won a 6-0 decision over Kettering Fairmont.

A LOOK AT THE OPPONENT: A look at Milford’s next tournament opponent:

  • Monday, May 23 vs. Springboro (at Elder Sports Complex), 5 p.m.
    • 2016 Record: 25-4, 10-0 GWOC
    • Top Hitter: Junior Luke Walker (.352/4 XBH/11 RBI/7 SB)
    • Top Pitcher: Senior Jake Bourke (0.58 ERA/7-0 record/2 SV)
    • Last Meeting: N/A

A LOOK BACK: May 19 vs. Lakota East: Milford earned an OHSAA Sectional Championship with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Lakota East on May 19. A third-inning RBI single by senior Brad Hall plated junior Wes Reid with what proved to be the winning run, snapping an early one-all tie. The Eagles drew first blood with a first inning RBI single by Keith Carter, but East matched the marker in the second to even the contest. Milford’s final tally came on a fourth inning run-scoring hit by Nate Liles. On the hill, Nathan Kroger scattered eight hits over 6 2/3 innings, before Kyle Ruehlman slammed the door on an East rally in the seventh for his second save. Reid and Liles paced the offense with two hits apiece.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: A look at Milford’s statistical leaders through 28 games:

Batting Average: Wes Reid (.495), Sam Dobrowolski (.464), Brad Hall (.418)

Slugging Percentage: Wes Reid (.667), Brad Hall (.659), Sam Dobrowolski (.623)

On Base Percentage: Sam Dobrowolski (.589), Wes Reid (.560), Keith Carter/Brad Hall (.466)

Runs Scored: Wes Reid (37), Brad Hall (35), Chase Witte (25)

Hits: Wes Reid (46), Brad Hall (38), Keith Carter (34)

RBI: Keith Carter (39), Brad Hall (33), Sam Dobrowolski (28)

Doubles: Keith Carter (14), Matt Kirk (12), Wes Reid (11)

Triples: Brad Hall (4), Four Tied (1)

Home Runs: Brad Hall (3), Sam Dobrowolski/Wes Reid (1)

Walks: Sam Dobrowolski (18), Ben Hunter (16), Chase Witte (15)

Stolen Bases: Brad Hall (16), Wes Reid (8), Chase Witte (7)

Wins: Kyle Ruehlman (7), Kyle Music (6), Nathan Kroger (4)

Saves: Kyle Ruehlman/Tyler Smith (2), Four Tied (1)

ERA: Nathan Kroger (1.54), Kyle Music (1.61), Kyle Ruehlman (1.71)

Innings: Kyle Ruehlman (47.1), Nathan Kroger (35.0), Kyle Music (28.0)

Opponents Batting Average: Kyle Music (.156), Kyle Ruehlman (.186), Nathan Kroger (.210)

Strikeouts: Kyle Ruehlman (46), Nathan Kroger/Kyle Music (30)

INSIDE THE ECC: Loveland closed out its first-ever Eastern Cincinnati Conference baseball championship last week, but Milford can still earn a share of the crown with a win on Monday against Withrow in a game that has twice been rained out. Milford is in search of its fifth straight shared or outright conference title. 

Besides the Eagles, Loveland is the only ECC team still alive in tournament play. The Tigers will also play for a district championship on Saturday, taking on Bellefontaine at Centerville High School in a 3 p.m. tilt. Should both ECC squads win on Saturday, they would square off in next week’s regional semi-finals at the University of Cincinnati.

POLL WATCH: For the first time since 2003, Milford has been crowned the No. 1 team in the city according to the final coaches’ poll, sponsored by the Cincinnati Enquirer and released on May 2. The Eagles were the top team on the ballot of 15 of the 19 voting coaches and received 33 more points than fellow ECC member and second place finisher Loveland (one vote). LaSalle and Fairfield also earned No. 1 nods and were joined in the top-five by Lakota East. Kings also represented the ECC in the others receiving votes category. The final coaches’ poll can be viewed at preps.cincinnati.com/coachespolls

The final Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association state poll was released on May 12 and the Eagles finished third in the state according to the rankings. The Eagles trailed only Jackson and Springboro in the OHSBCA poll. Other area teams in the top-20 include Moeller (9th), Loveland (10th) and Mason (11th).

CHAMPIONSHIP TALK: With its regular-season closing win against Withrow on May 9, the Eagles staked their claim to a share of the 2016 Eastern Cincinnati Conference Championship, joining Loveland as co-champions. The crown extends Milford’s streak of consecutive years winning a share of or outright conference championship to five and is the Eagles seventh conference title in the last nine years.

PSEUDO CHAMPS: The Eagles completed a rare accomplishment on May 6 with its 6-4 win at Elder. The victory gave Milford wins over all four member of the Greater Catholic League South Division. MHS opened the season with a 1-0 win over LaSalle on March 26, before knocking off Moeller (3-2) on April 23 and St. Xavier (4-2) on May 3.

A VICTORY TO REMEMBER: Veteran Milford head coach Tom Kilgore reached a coaching milestone on April 15 as he picked up his 300th victory as the Eagles’ skipper. The victory came in dramatic fashion as Milford overcame a four-run deficit in the top of the seventh inning against Walnut Hills, rallying for seven runs en route to an 8-5 victory. Kilgore, who has been Milford’s head coach since 1999, has led the Eagles to eight conference championships and two state runner-up finishes during his tenure. He has earned conference coach of the year accolades seven times during his career.

ONE CLOSE CALL: Senior pitcher Nathan Kroger went from a bases loaded, no-out jam to the dugout with just one pitch during the second inning of the April 23 win over Moeller, thanks to the help of his defense. Senior first baseman Brad Hall snagged a line drive off the bat of Moeller’s Tyler McDonough, stepped on first for the second out and then quickly fired across the diamond to third baseman Nate Liles to complete the triple play.

NO-HIT HEROES: The duo of sophomore Kyle Music and junior Tyler Smith combined to pitch a six inning no-hitter as the Eagles picked up an 11-0 win at New Richmond on April 14. Music hurled the first five hitless innings, allowing just one walk and striking out eight, while Smith pitched a hitless sixth to wrap up the feat. It marks the first no-hitter at Milford since Justin Arnold twirled a perfect game against Turpin last season.

COLLEGE BOUND EAGLES: A trio of senior members of the 2016 Eagles’ roster have announced their intention to continue their athletic and academic careers on the collegiate level. Lance Fleischman will attend Wilmington College, while Ben Hunter will head to Northwest Nazarene University and Kyle Ruehlman will attend Sinclair Community College.