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Antwerp enters first baseball state finals with confidence

By Eric Dutkiewicz, 06/06/19, 10:00PM EDT

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ANTWERP, Ohio – Antwerp High School is hoping for a second state championship in a week when the Archers baseball team take the field this weekend at the OHSAA State Finals.

Antwerp (19-5) is in the midst of its best season ever. The Archers have won 12 of their last 13 games, clinching their first Green Meadows Conference title, repeating as sectional champs, winning their first-ever regional and advancing for the first time to the Division IV state round.

“We’ve been able to mix really good pitching with really good defense,” says Zach Feasby, finishing his 7th season as head coach. “We back that up offensively with our lineup, 1 through 9, they can all produce for us.”

Despite outscoring opponents 35-4 in the playoffs, Antwerp has shown it can win close games, too, knocking off North Robinson Colonel Crawford, 1-0, in the regional semi-final; and coming from behind to beat Kalida, 4-3, in walk-off fashion.

“I thought we were pretty close (before), but I think this tournament run has brought us even closer,” outfielder Blake Schuette tells ParkviewSportsMedicine.com. “You don’t get this far unless have a pretty good team. Trust that you’re hear for a reason. You don’t get here by chance.”

Players and coaches alike speak of a quiet confidence in a team that has played together for years.

“I think we feel comfortable,” infielder Keaton Altimus says. “We know we can go out there and play our game and win.”

Antwerp faces Toronto in the state semi-final at 7 p.m. Friday at Canal Park In Akron. The winner of that game faces the winner of Minister and Jeromesville Hillsdale Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

If Antwerp wins, it would become just the third school since the OHSAA sanctioned softball starting in 1978 to win baseball and softball state titles in the same season. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit was the first in 2004; Warren Champion last did the feat in 2017.

Antwerp is one of 26 high schools that partners with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training, sports performance, nutrition, athletic rehabilitation and orthopedic services for student-athletes. Learn more at ParkviewSportsMedicine.com.