Arcanum Baseball Wins WOAC Championship

Arcanum Trojans shutout Newton Indians 10-0 to win 2023 WOAC Baseball Championship.  

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Arcanum defeated Newton 10-0 to win the 2023 WOAC Baseball Championship.  (Dale Barger Photo)

ARCANUM – It was a match-up of the top two baseball teams Arcanum and Newton in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference both co-champions last year in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.

Newton came in riding a 9-game win streak and Arcanum had won 14 of their last 15 games as they squared off for their last league game both with identical 9-1 league records so there would be no sharing of the crown this season.

Newton Senior pitcher Carson Knupp has been stellar on the mound all year for Newton but ran into a hot Arcanum team in the championship game.  (Dale Barger Photo)

Taking the hill for Newton was senior Carson Knupp with a 7-0 record and a 0.45 era and he would be facing Arcanum freshman Regan Crist who had 3 wins, 3 saves and a 1.88 era.

“Coming in we knew this was going to be a difficult game, Newton has such a tremendous program,” Arcanum coach Randy Baker stated.

Newton put runners on base in the first 3 innings but was unable to score thanks to some good fielding and pitching by the Trojans.

But the Indians relied on two stellar catches from junior right fielder Brady Downing to negate an Arcanum opportunity in the 1st inning and then Knupp settled in and threw a great 2nd inning with 3 strikeouts as the game remained scoreless heading into the bottom of the 3rd inning.

Junior Dakota Kendig puts down a perfect bunt that got things rolling for the Trojans.  (Dale Barger Photo)

In the bottom of the 3rd senior Nate Kessler drew a walk and then a base hit by senior Caden Thompson put runners at 1st and 2nd base prompting coach Baker to put on the bunt sign to advance the runners with no outs.

Junior Dakota Kendig would put down the perfect bunt between home plate and 3rd base that died in the grass forcing pitcher Knupp to field and then try and turn to throw to 1st base that sailed on him allowing two runs to score while Kendig advanced to 3rd base with no outs.

Arcanum was able to make some solid plays on defense to project pitcher Regan Crist.  (Dale Barger Photo)

“Kendig came in and got the bunt down the third base line which is where you have to put it for a left-handed pitcher to become a fielder … and you know that’s how we got our first two runs,” Arcanum coach Randy Baker said.

Senior shortstop Bryson Sharp rapped a single to bring home Kendig to go up 3-0 … and in a game like this a 3-run lead becomes big.

“When we got up 3-0, I had said in the dugout who ever scores 3 runs first will probably win the game considering the defenses and quality pitching by both teams so I felt pretty good at that point,” Baker stated.

But the Trojans weren’t finished and even though they weren’t rapping extra base hits they were doing the little things that allowed them to keep the inning going and before it was over they were up 7-0 heading into the 4thinning.

“We played small ball with a couple of sacrifices and when those sacrifices score runs it’s huge, you know,” Baker added.

Freshman Regan Crist was solid on the mound throwing a shutout on Newton.  (Dale Barger Photo)

Now with a big lead the Trojans still had work to do and added 3 more insurance runs in the 4th inning … but most of the work came from Regan Crist.  The young man gave up just 3 hits, walked just 1 and had 6 strikeouts to pick up his 4th win of the season.

“That’s a big pressure situation for a freshman to be in against a quality program like Newton.  They got runners on base early in the game, but he worked through it and then just pitched a gem,” Baker praised.

Arcanum run ruled the Indians 10-0 to claim the outright 2023 WOAC Baseball Championship.

“We lost one league game early in the season, but our guys have since responded well and playing really good baseball right now and I’m very proud of them,” Baker exclaimed.

Coach Randy Baker gets the bucket of water from senior Caden Thompson. (Dale Barger Photo)

With the loss Newton falls to 9-2 in the conference and finishes in 2nd place snapping a 3-year title run.  They Indians are 17-4 overall and ranked 8th in the state in DIV.  Newton will open tournament play on Wednesday May 17th at home.

Arcanum finishes 10-1 in the league and now stands at 17-4 overall, they will open tournament play on Wednesday May 17th and face the winner of Dixie vs National Trail in the 2nd round.

It was a clean sweep by Arcanum High School in baseball and softball with both winning 2023 WOAC Titles.

“In my 20+ years of coaching I think this may be the first time both girls and boys have won league titles in the same year, that’s pretty special,” Coach Baker concluded.

It’s the one time the players get the chance to mess with their coach and they are all smiles as a good natured Randy Baker takes it all in stride … and why not they just won the 2023 WOAC Baseball Championship. (Dale Barger photo)