Springfield, Ohio — After not getting a chance to three-peat in 2020, the Chaminade Julienne Eagles come into this season with some uncertainties like everyone else after missing all of last year. They only return one player from their back-to-back state title team from 2019 as Gardner-Webb commit A.J. Solomon is the leader of this relatively young squad.
They have a lot of very talented young players like freshman Jackson Frasure, sophomore J.P. Peltier, and juniors Ty Flannagan and Jack Downing. C-J started off their season with a 3-2 victory over Fairmont on Saturday. Freshman Jackson Frasure went 6 innings while only allowing 2 runs (1 earned run) and just 2 hits. The Eagles gave Peltier the nod on Monday as he would face a tough Kenton Ridge team.
The Cougars have become a powerhouse in the CBC over the last half-decade. They won their division for four straight years before falling second behind Jonathan Alder back in 2019. Bluffton commit Evan Houseman will look to lead his team to yet another conference title this year as Kenton Ridge has the talent to make some noise this season. Lefty Matt Wichael would get the start for the Cougars on their opening night on Monday.
Wichael struckout a pair of batters in the first inning as he got through the first inning pretty quickly. Peltier got off to a bit of a rough start. Michael Severt got on to start as he hit a hard groundball through the hole. Then after a grounder back to the pitcher, A.J. Solomon threw the ball over the first baseman’s head which left a runner on second.
Then Evan Houseman took a 2-0 fastball out of the park as he hit a bomb to deep left field to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Justin Maurer then hit a single up the middle and advanced to second off of a wild pitch. Maurer would then score from second off of a hard-hit single up the middle from Caleb Obee. This gave Kenton Ridge a 3-0 lead at the end of the first.
C-J began to build some momentum as they drew a pair of walks, but then Aidan Kelly’s hard line drive up the middle was caught and then doubled up to end the half inning. C-J got on the board in the third inning as A.J. Solomon hit a 2-out double over the left fielder’s head. Then J.P. Peltier helped his own cause by driving in Solomon with an RBI single.
Caleb Obee hit a gap-shot double for Kenton Ridge to start the bottom of the third. Jordan Fent would also get on as Flannagan barely missed a diving catch out in centerfield. Then Tyler Fultz drove Obee home with an RBI single. Peltier then beamed catcher Jordon Miller before the pitcher Matt Wichael hit an RBI single into rightfield to make it 5-1. Peltier then walked in a run as his 3-2 pitch to Severt was in the dirt. Miller would then score from third as he tagged up on a SAC-fly from Hunter White. This gave Kenton Ridge a commanding 7-1 lead at the end of the third inning.
The Eagles got a pair of runs back in the 4th inning as Jack Downing got a leadoff double and took third base on a wild pitch. He scored off of a Nick Braun groundout. Then Jackson Frasure scored as Mitch Weckesser’s groundball made a tough play for the shortstop who threw the ball away. Peltier then began to settle down on the mound as well as he threw a scoreless frame in the bottom of the 4th.
Chaos ensued in the top of the 5th as C-J loaded the bases off of an A.J. Solomon double and then a pair of errors from the Cougars. Then with Jackson Frasure at the plate, the first basemen hit a liner into centerfield, scoring Solomon. Frasure rounded first and headed to second but with a runner already there he had to go back to first. Frasure leaped over Severt who was covering first and caused him to drop the ball. Frasure was still ruled out because he jumped over the defender but that allowed both Downing and Flannagan to score as C-J drew within one and trailed 7-6.
Peltier continued to work as he put out another scoreless inning while striking out two batters. With two outs in the top of the 6th, freshman Caleb Obee drilled Landon Avila. Obee struckout the first two batters in the inning. C-J pitch ran the speedy Donovan Chaulk. He quickly stole second which put a man in scoring position with A.J. Solomon at the plate. Solomon liften a flyball into left field and the wind took it over the head of the left fielder which scored Chaulk to tie the game.
Despite being just under one-hundred pitches on the night, the C-J coaches trusted Peltier to work for another inning as he seemed to be throwing his best stuff late in the game. He got a couple of quick outs before a blooper was hit into no mans land and gave Kenton Ridge a baserunner. Then the Eagles threw away a ball putting Obee in scoring position. Peltier was able to work out of the jam and retire the side.
Jack Downing started off the 7th inning by reaching base via an error defensively from the Cougars. Downing then stole second base and was advanced to third on a groundout by Ty Flannagan. Then following a Jackson Frasure walk, Nick Braun hit a perfectly placed SAC-fly to deep centerfield as Downing tagged up and scored to complete the incredible comeback and give C-J the lead.
Chaminade Julienne brought in Ty Flannagan to close the game and shut the door in the bottom of the 7th. The leadoff man Jordon Miller hit a liner into centerfield that was just barely missed by the outstretched glove of the centerfielder. Kenton Ridge bunted over the runner to second base. Then the leadoff man Michael Severt popped up in the infield for the second out of the inning. Then on a 2-2 delivery with the tying run in scoring position, Ty Flannagan struckout Hunter White to end the game.
C-J came back after trailing 7-1 to defeat Kenton Ridge in a huge DII battle. Although J.P. Peltier didn’t have his best stuff early on, he made big pitches when it mattered and helped his team to stay in the game. Some big hits from A.J. Solomon and Jack Downing won the game for the Eagles and a big inning from Flannagan sealed the win as C-J improves to 2-0 on the season.
A.J. Solomon went 2-4 with a pair of doubles and scored twice. Jack Downing went 3-4 with an RBI and Nick Braun went 0-2 but had 2 huge RBI’s to help the Eagles win this game. C-J will play at Versailles on Tuesday night while Kenton Ridge will look to bounce back with a matchup against Northmont on Tuesday as well.