Fort Loramie Lifted to State Title By 8-Run Inning

Photos by Ellen Wehrman
Staff Writer

Of course it happened like this for the team with a flair for the dramatic. Of course it did.

The Fort Loramie baseball team took a most unorthodox yet characteristic road to win another state championship.

In a postseason run full of crazy comebacks and nail-biting endings Fort Loramie always had an imposing line-up that made every game winnable just sitting there waiting to come to the rescue.

“We battle,” Fort Loramie head coach Jeff Sanders said. “We’re gritty. We fight. We’ve come back from big deficits. We’ve come back in tight games. We’ve had big leads we’ve let slip away, but every time we’re battling to the end. We’re just a team that never quits.”

They saved their best work for the state title game, and now they’re the last one standing in Ohio’s Division IV.

The Redskins (27-6) fell behind 4-0 after a rough error and miscue-riddled inning before exploding for an eight-run fifth inning, a tsunami of runs that lifted the Redskins to an 8-4 victory over Hicksville and their third-ever state championship on Saturday morning.

The Redskins celebrated by piling in front of the Huntington Park mound after the game ended on a dramatic 1-6-3 double play started by reliever Nathan Raterman, who worked the game’s final  3 1-3 innings, holding Hicksville to three hits and no earned runs.

Fort Loramie is now one of 20 teams to win three state titles in OHSAA baseball history, joining neighbor Minster, who joined that club last year and a team the Redskins defeated at the regional level to get to Columbus. Fort Loramie’s 2018 squad joins the 2004 and 2010 teams in the trophy case.

Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Fort Loramie’s bats came alive. A lead-off single by Fort Loramie senior Austin Siegel, a hit by pitch and then a single to left by senior Austin Siegel, loaded the bases. Two batters later, an RBI single to right field by junior Carter Mescher scored Siegel and cut the deficit to 4-1. In the next at bat, senior Dylan Albers came up with the biggest hit of the game, tripling to center field to score three and tie the game at 4-4.

Fort Loramie continued the offensive attack and scored four more runs to take an 8-4 lead into the top of the sixth. Junior C.J. Billing recorded an RBI single, junior Eli Rosengarten notched a two-RBI double, and a one-RBI triple by Siegel push Fort Loramie to its four-run lead.

Fort Loramie fans were raucous during the comeback 2-1 win in the state semifinal against Garfield Heights Trinity and then really let their presence be felt two days later during the eight-run rally.

“The crowd was thunderous,”  Sanders said after the title game. “I could it feel it going through my body. I had my warm-up coat on and I think I felt it shaking. The crowd was unbelievable.”

Fort Loramie junior pitcher Nathan Raterman pitched the final 3 1-3 innings, holding Hicksville to three hits and no earned runs.