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Baseball Welcomes ECC Rival Walnut Hills For Tournament Opener On Thursday

Posted on: May 11, 2016

SETTING THE SCENE: A familiar face will greet the top-seeded Milford High School baseball team as it opens the 2016 OHSAA Tournament with a visit from conference rival and 18th-seeded Walnut Hills on Thursday, May 12. First pitch at Milford is set for 5 p.m. The Eagles, co-champions of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak and holding an overall record of 22-2. Milford was victorious in both of this year’s match-ups with Walnut, winning 17-0 in the opener and scoring seven runs in the seventh inning for an 8-5 win in the second match-up. Walnut Hills is 16-10 on the year and coming off a 9-7 win against Northwest in the opening round.

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.

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

  • Thursday, May 12 vs. Walnut Hills, 5:00 p.m.
    • 2016 Record: 16-10, 7-7 ECC (NR Division I area coaches’ weekly poll)
    • Top Hitter: Junior Gage Carpenter (.368/10 XBH/14 RBI/5 SB)
    • Top Pitcher: Senior Bobby Brokamp (1.88 ERA/3-3 record)
    • Last Meeting: 2016; Milford 17, Walnut Hills 0 & Milford 8, Walnut Hills 5

LOOK May 9 vs. Withrow: The Eagles capped off the regular season with an offensive explosion, hammering Withrow 29-1 on May 9. Milford banged out 25 hits on the afternoon, including four by junior Keith Carter. Milford’s second baseman had three doubles among his tally, scored three runs and drove in five. Head coach Tom Kilgore was able to utilize his reserve players for the majority of the game and both Riley Steward and Dylan Stewart took advantage with three hits each. Evan Baugh earned the win on the hill, striking out six in three innings, while George Lucas hurled two perfect innings with three strikeouts.

THE LAST TIME VS. WALNUT HILLS: April 13: Milford erupted for 11 second inning runs, blasting past Walnut Hills by a 17-0 score in a five-inning game on April 13. The Eagles sent 16 men to the plate in the explosive inning, with Brad Hall’s grand slam providing the biggest hit of the frame. Kyle Minton added a two-run double, along with an RBI single in the inning. Wes Reid tallied three RBI for the game, while Evan Baugh and Keith Carter each tacked on a pair. Nathan Kroger twirled a four-hit shutout with seven strikeouts to pick up his second victory of the year. 

April 15: Milford’s unbeaten start nearly came to an end at Walnut Hills on April 15 as the Eagles trailed by a 5-1 score heading into the top of the seventh, but MHS rallied for seven runs in its last at-bat to steal the victory and hand head coach Tom Kilgore his 300th career victory. In the decisive inning, Wes Reid doubled for the first run, with Sam Dobrowolski adding a two-run single to bring the visitors with a run. With one out and the bases loaded, Matt Kirk played the hero role, ripping a three-run triple to push Milford in front for good. In addition to Kirk’s big hit, Reid went 3-for-4 at the dish with a pair of runs and a pair of RBI, while Dobrowolski also knocked in two. Kyle Minton pitched a clean bottom of the seventh to save Nate Liles’ second win of the year.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: A look at Milford’s statistical leaders through 24 games:

Batting Average: Wes Reid (.494), Sam Dobrowolski (.483), Brad Hall (.418)

Slugging Percentage: Brad Hall (.696), Wes Reid (.658), Sam Dobrowolski (.650)

On Base Percentage: Sam Dobrowolski (.597), Wes Reid (.568), Keith Carter (.473)

Runs Scored: Wes Reid (33), Brad Hall (30), Chase Witte (24)

Hits: Wes Reid (39), Brad Hall (33), Keith Carter (30)

RBI: Keith Carter (34), Brad Hall (31), Sam Dobrowolski (26)

Doubles: Keith Carter (14), Matt Kirk (11), Wes Reid (8)

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

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

Walks: Ben Hunter (16), Sam Dobrowolski (15), Wes Reid (13)

Stolen Bases: Brad Hall (13), Chase Witte (7), Evan Baugh/Wes Reid (6)

Wins: Kyle Ruehlman (6), Kyle Music (5), Nathan Kroger (3)

Saves: Tyler Smith (2), Four Tied (1)

ERA: Kyle Music (1.73), Nathan Kroger (1.98), Kyle Ruehlman (2.08)

Innings: Kyle Ruehlman (39.0), Nathan Kroger (27.1), Kyle Music (26.0)

Opponents Batting Average: Kyle Music (.165), Nathan Kroger (.184), Kyle Ruehlman (.190)

Strikeouts: Kyle Ruehlman (38), Kyle Music (29), Nathan Kroger (28)

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. 

The schedule for ECC teams in the tournament includes: No. 1 Milford vs. No. 18 Walnut Hills (May 12, 5:00 p.m. at Milford), No. 2 Loveland vs. winner of No. 21 Amelia-No. 27 Talawanda (May 12, 5:00 p.m. at Loveland), No. 12 Kings vs. No. 23 Glen Este (May 11, 5:00 p.m. at Kings), No. 19 Anderson vs. No. 24 Sycamore (May 11, 5:00 p.m. at Anderson), No. 28 Turpin vs. No. 20 Wilmington (May 11, 5:00 p.m. at Wilmington), No. 32 Withrow vs. No. 8 Mason (May 11, 5:00 p.m. at Mason).

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 second of four Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association state polls was released on May 2 and the Eagles are listed third in the ratings. The Eagles trail only Jackson and Butler in the OHSBCA poll. Other area teams in the top-20 include Springboro (4th), Loveland (T-13th) and Moeller (15th).

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.