LANCASTER — An arm injury recently slowed Shae Mummey’s stellar season on the mound, but the Newark Catholic senior right-hander wasn’t going to let it end his season.
Mummey pitched the fifth inning and then hit a life-saving scoop at first base, helping send the Green Wave to a 3-2 win over Hiland in a Division IV Regional Final at Beavers Field.
“It felt good. The adrenaline helped. I know how important it is to our school, and I know what I needed to do to help us get to where we wanted to be,” said Mummey, who allowed a run in 4 1 /3 innings before giving way to junior right-hander Braylon Bates. “I was going to do everything I could to be here for these guys.”
4 NC (24-6) takes on Russia in a state semifinal at 10 a.m. Thursday at Canal Park in Akron after Russia beat Fort Loramie 7-1. Tiffin Calvert takes on number 3 Van Wert Lincolnview in the second semi-final.
The Green Wave is heading to its first state tournament since 2016 and had to beat a former regional rival to do so. Junior scoring singles Nate Ferrell and Grant Moore made the difference.
“At the start of this game we could have been a little tighter than yesterday,” said NC coach John Cannizzaro. “They knew what was at stake. I told them about the tradition – I probably shouldn’t have – of what we had with Hiland. I basically told them that every game was a one-point differential like today. There really is no better way to win a game.”
Bates relieved Mummey with two runs late in the fifth inning, and the Green Wave immediately converted a 4-6-3 double play, their third double kill of the game.
Mummey scooped a backhand scoop to finish the sixth as senior shortstop Sam Muetzel dodged a base runner and landed an off-balance long throw on a slow roll. Bates also blocked a runner at second in the seventh, causing junior second baseman Eli Morris to pop up and ground out.
“These games, I’m speechless. Probably when I get home I’m just going for a walk,” Cannizzaro said. “This is Braylon’s first big moment. Shae is coming out of a flare, he’s fine. He’s going to throw again.”
As in the semi-final against Lucasville Valley, NC scored in the first set. Muetzel doubled home classmate Tanner Elwell, giving the Green Wave an immediate 1-0 lead against Isaak Yoder. Hiland tied the game on Dakota Miller’s RBI double late in the second.
Junior Mason Hackett doubled to start the fourth, and Ferrell brought it home. A bounding catch short on Chance Brooks’ line drive gave the Hawks a chance to escape further damage, but Moore fielded a two-out right single.
“(Scoring in the first set) definitely set the tone for the game,” Muetzel said.
Hiland had traffic against Mummey and Bates throughout the night, never going down in order, but the Green Wave was still one step out of trouble. The Hawks scored an unearned run in the sixth inning, but the Green Wave didn’t let the tying run go through home plate.
Senior Tristan Gorius, who started the game at second base, was the pivot on a 6-4-3 double play in the first inning. He had personal redemption as he was injured in Green Wave’s double-overtime regional semi-final loss to Hiland on the basketball court three months earlier.
“It was really good to beat them since they beat us in basketball,” Gorius said. “We weren’t letting them fight twice. … It’s really good. We were successful (say) in football, but being successful in baseball too is pretty fun.”