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Berlin Hiland goes on the offensive to take down Russia in Division IV baseball state title game

The Hawks scored six runs in the fifth inning and went on to win 14-4
Photo by Jeff Harwell

Photo by Jeff Harwell

AKRON, Ohio – Isaak Yoder wasn’t happy when he came off the mound at Canal Park after the fourth inning of the OHSAA Division IV state championship game Saturday afternoon.

Hiland's senior had just given up three hits and allowed Russia to tie the game at 4-4 after relieving Will Schlabach.

“I was frustrated because their little hits, they found holes,” Yoder said. “I guess the biggest thing for me was that I couldn't capitalize on them hitting the ball like I want them to hit the ball and their hits just found holes.”

So Yoder stepped up the plate with two runners on in the top of the fifth and clubbed a two-run double that started a rally and led to the Hawks winning the game 14-4 to capture the program’s second state title.

“That was incredible,” Yoder said. “I went up there and I was so pumped from that last inning. I was like, you know what I'm gonna go up there and I'm just gonna not care about anything except just smacking the ball. I went up there saw my pitch and I drove it well.”

The Hawks went on to score six runs in the inning, including RBI singles by Cody Yoder and Nick Yoder and an RBI by Alec Weaver when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

“We had been hitting their pitching all game and (our players) had 100 percent confidence that we were going to continue to do that,” Hiland head coach Chris Dages said. “And they did that and went out there and put up a six spot.”

Hiland then put three more on the board in the sixth to stretch the lead to 13-4. Brady Kaufman had an RBI single and later scored on a fielder’s choice and Conner Beachy scored on an error.

Isaak Yoder finished the game the same way he did the state semifinal win against Tiffin Calvert – by striking out the side in the final inning.

“I guess that’s my signature move now,” Yoder joked. “That last batter when he stepped in there, I was feeling like alright, here we go, let's get this done.”

The Hawks had five guys with multiple hits, led by Nick Yoder and Cody Yoder with three each, Colin Coblentz, Isaak Yoder and Brady Yoder with two each. Nick Yoder drove in three runs and Alec Weaver, Cody Yoder and Isaak Yoder had two RBIs each.

To win the program’s first state title since 2016, the Hawks went 31-1 but they had to defeat the defending state champions. But there was never any doubt they would pull it off.

“I couldn't be happier for these guys, especially the seniors,” Dages said. “These guys have been working their tails off for four years. Every winter, every Saturday, they're in there working every day of the week.”