- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
When this millennium began, the Tallmadge baseball team was a regular at the Division II state tournament.
The Blue Devils tasted defeat twice in the state championship game before winning their only state title in 2002.
However, since those days, Tallmadge has not made the glorious trip down south to the state capital.
In fact, the Blue Devils haven't even made it to the Elite Eight.
Whether Tallmadge gets to the state tournament is yet to be seen.
But the Blue Devils finally ended their Sweet Sixteen hex.
Tallmadge advanced to its first Elite Eight in 15 years after earning a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin.
The Division II regional semifinal contest took place May 26 at The Ballpark at Hudson.
With the win, the Blue Devils (22-7), who had lost their last four regional semifinal contests, are scheduled to play the Chagrin Falls-Canfield winner in the Hudson regional title game May 27 at noon.
Junior right-hander Mikah McGlaughlin, who entered the game in the sixth inning, got the final four outs to pick up the win. McGlaughlin improved to 4-1 on the season.
Tallmadge was able to get two clutch runs in the top of the seventh with some small-ball tactics.
With the score tied at one, Sam Seeker led off the seventh with a ground ball that went off Lions' senior pitcher Jake Butler's glove.
Since the ball ended up landing just behind the mound, Seeker easily made it to first.
And then the Blue Devils got the go-ahead run without taking a full swing.
Sophomore catcher Rich Eyre moved Seeker into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and then shortstop Phil Glasser, Tallmadge's leadoff batter, followed with a bunt single toward the third-base side to put runners on the corners.
The bunt festival didn't end there.
The next batter, junior right fielder Seth Gergely, executed a bunt single toward third base to score Seeker.
Blue Devils' right-handed pitcher Zach Boyd finally decided to swing away after the three straight bunts.
Such a strategy proved beneficial.
Boyd smacked a bloop single toward left field off the end of the bat to score Glasser and make it 3-1.
Butler got the second out on the next batter and left-handed reliever Brendan Hofacre ended the inning by getting a ground out.
Nonetheless, Tallmadge had all the momentum at that point and McGlaughlin and his teammates made sure they kept it.
McGlaughlin got the Lions out in order in the bottom of the seventh, including a strikeout on the last batter of the game, catcher Julian Mangelluzzi.
Prior to the seventh, NDCL (13-10) struck first when starting right-handed junior pitcher Joe DiMattio had a run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the third.
The Blue Devils also got their first run with two outs.
After DiMattio retired the first two batters, he walked junior center fielder Jared Burick.
Burick didn't stay at first for very long.
That's because junior second baseman Jake Rensel tied the game at one with a run-scoring triple toward the fence in right center.
Boyd struck out three batters, walked three and hit a batter in 5-2/3 innings of work. He allowed all seven of the Lions' hits.
DiMattio pitched the first five innings for NDCL. He finished with two strikeouts and walked five batters.
Tallmadge had six hits and no errors. The Lions also did not commit an error.
NDCL stranded nine runners while the Blue Devils left seven runners on base.