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Linn, Devils achieve glory after long wait

By FRANK ACETO Associate Sports Editor Published: June 11, 2017 12:00 AM
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COLUMBUS -- Kenny Linn felt extremely comfortable in his surroundings.

He was part of a successful program at St. Vincent-St. Mary and couldn't be happier.

And then he got an unexpected phone call.

"Seek [Tallmadge athletic director Don Seeker] called and asked me if I was interested in the job," Linn said. "I had no plans of stepping down from St. V."

The Blue Devils were able to coax Linn to leave his comfort zone and become Tallmadge's head baseball coach in 2004.

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He has been the face of the program ever since.

"I have been blessed to be a part of this community for 14 years," Linn said. "The coaches, the administrators and the players have believed in me. I truly lucked out."

After completing his 14th year as the Blue Devils head coach, Linn has matched his predecessor, who also happens to be the man who called him back in 2004.

Linn is now a state champion.

Tallmadge concluded a season for the ages with a 4-0 victory over Dayton Chaminade Julienne in the Division II state title game June 3 at Huntington Park in Columbus.

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It was the Blue Devils' first state title since 2002 when Seeker led Tallmadge to its first ever state championship.

For Linn and the Blue Devils, it was a long wait.

The Blue Devils had not been able to get over the hump since they reached the top of the mountain 15 year ago.

Tallmadge won just four district titles since then and was winless in all four of its trips to the regional semifinals.

The Blue Devils refused to be denied this spring.

They got stellar pitching, nearly flawless defense and clutch hitting throughout the postseason.

"I want to thank [assistants] Ben Shepherd, Mike Barr and Scott Campbell," Linn said. "They've been with me during the heartbreaking losses. We work well together."

Linn also paid tribute to Bobbi Hindel, the wife of former statistician Jim Hindel. Ms. Hindel passed away after a battle with cancer in 2014.

"I really do believe there are angels in the outfield and I know Bobbi is one of them," Linn said. "I know she was in our corner. I couldn't be happier for these guys to get this far."

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