Eagles Baseball Returns to State for Third Year in a Row

Update: Congratulations - the Eagles are back-to-back champions! The team defeated Gilmour Academy 4-2 on Sunday, June 9. 

Details about a school celebration will be released in the coming days.

Update: The Eagles defeated Van Wert 7-1 on Saturday, June 8 in the state semi-final. They will face Gates Mills Gilmour Academy at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 9. Additional game information is at the bottom of this story.

First Report: It’s a hat trick for the Eagles baseball team.

“I’m actually in awe by what these guys have accomplished the last few years,” said head coach Mike Barhorst ‘85.

The Eagles are returning to the state baseball championship for a third year in a row. The team lost in the state semi-finals in 2017 and returned in 2018 to claim the state title.

Now, coming in with a 25-2 record, the Eagles are looking to retain the top spot.

“Making it to state seemed like a pipe dream the first half of my coaching career, and these past six seasons we have been in the hunt four times,” said Barhorst. “Getting to state is so difficult — it takes a lot of talent and sometimes luck. Getting there a second time and winning it was even more difficult. But to defend a state title day after day is so challenging. Every game we played we knew the other team wanted to defeat the defending champs. We faced every team’s best pitcher day in and day out. There was never a day off for our guys and they responded with one of the greatest regular seasons in school history.”

With a current record of 25-2, Barhorst believes that the 2019 team has one of the best overall winning percentages at CJ (1970 record: 28-6, 1975 record: 37-9). 

Focusing on what makes the 2019 team special, Barhorst said, “I think we may be a little better offensively overall, but for the most part we have maintained our brand of baseball. We strive on our pitching and take pride in our defensive ability. Every player is important — from the starters to the bench players. We have a very unselfish group of kids that know the goal is about team success. I think they’ve tried to follow the winning formula from past teams, and found it works.”

While Barhorst is retiring at the end of this season, he knows there is more work to be done this week.

“I want everyone in the CJ community to know how special theses guys are. Making it to state three straight seasons is nearly impossible, but they’ve accomplished it. This is the smartest and most unselfish group of players I’ve ever been around. They define the TEAM first concept. They aren’t afraid of any challenge and they thrive under adversity. There is no quit in these guys. Like years in the past, it starts with the team captains and team leaders.

“Whatever happens this weekend I’ll always be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Barhorst continued. “They’ve brought a ton of pride back to the CJ community.”

OHSAA Division II Baseball State Final Game

  • When: Sunday, June 9 at 4 p.m.
  • Where: Canal Park, 300 S Main St, Akron, 44308
  • Listen Live Online: Here
  • Additional Details: Here

Posted June 5, 2019; Updated: June 9, 2019