Editor's Note: Tallmadge is a member of the Suburban League American Conference, the same conference which Aurora High competes in. The Blue Devils finished second to the Greenmen in the 2017 regular season conference standings.
Once upon a time, the Tallmadge baseball team had a reputation for being one of the best teams in the state every year.
The Blue Devils reached the state title game in 1966 and 1996 and then in 2000 and 2001.
Tallmadge finally got its elusive Division II championship in 2002 and looked poised to be a state powerhouse for years to come.
And then the Blue Devils hit an unexpected wall.
Tallmadge lost in the district semifinals one year later and hadn't been back to Columbus since.
Heck, the Blue Devils hadn't even made it to the Elite Eight since then.
Well, all of those so-called curses have been put to rest.
Tallmadge is standing on top of the mountain once again.
The Blue Devils won their second Division II state title in school history after earning a 4-0 victory over Dayton Chaminade Julienne. The Division II state title game took place June 3 at Huntington Park in Columbus.
Prior to 2017, Tallmadge (25-7) won just four district titles and was 0-4 in regional semifinal contests.
This spring, Tallmadge captured a district title, bunted its way to the Elite Eight and did everything right to win a regional title and earn a berth in the state championship game.
For much of the postseason, the Blue Devils played from behind.
Not this time.
Tallmadge struck first, scored a few more runs later in the game and got a gem from Jared Burick.
The junior right-hander, who finished 10-1 in 2017, was absolutely dominant until he ran into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh.
Burick struck out five batters and threw just 80 pitches in 6-1/3 innings of work.
Perhaps the butterflies might have gotten to Burick in the seventh as he walked two batters.
Fortunately for Burick, a certain hard-throwing teammate came to the rescue.
Junior right-hander Mikah McGlaughlin, who threw a wild pitch on his first offering, got the next two batters to finish the game.
The Blue Devils got their first run in the top of the first.
Junior shortstop Phil Glasser got things rolling with a single to right field. Glasser moved to second when junior right fielder Seth Gergely laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Eagles' side-arming right-hander Ryan Peltier, who entered the game with a 9-0 record, got a crucial second out when he struck out junior third baseman Zach Boyd.
However, Tallmadge was hardly deterred, thanks to its starting junior first baseman.
Scott Seeker, who plans to continue his academic and baseball careers at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., smacked a chopper just past Peltier for a run-scoring single to center.
The Blue Devils, who have had a knack for falling behind and then rallying late throughout the postseason, got two more runs in the fourth.
Sophomore catcher Rich Eyre started things off with a single down the third-base line.
Glasser followed with a single to right and Gergely made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.
After a ground out, Seeker used some two-out magic again.
The standout junior, who also played for the Tallmadge football and basketball teams, ripped another run-scoring single to make it 3-0.
The Blue Devils got their last run with — you guessed it — two outs.
After Peltier retired the first two batters, Tallmadge, like it has done throughout the spring, went to work.
Designated hitter Josh Taylor, the lone senior on the team, reached base on a single after his line drive went off Peltier's glove.
Burick followed with a single to left and junior second baseman Jake Rensel made it 4-0 with a single near the foul line in right.
That was all Burick needed, who used a fastball and a wicked off-speed pitch to stymie Chaminade Julienne throughout the afternoon.
He finished with five strikeouts and three walks. Burick also had stellar defense behind him.
Tallmadge did not commit an error and got a 4-6-3 double play in the fourth. Glasser also erased a sure base hit with a leaping catch to end the fourth.
Things got a bit nerve-racking in the seventh as Burick delivered consecutive one-out walks.
McGlaughlin came in and immediately put two Eagles in scoring position when his first pitch went to the backstop.
However, McGlaughlin struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Chaminade Julienne finished with just two hits and was 0 for 8 with runners on base.
The Blue Devils had eight hits and were 5 for 8 with runners in scoring position.