AKRON — Louisville junior starting pitcher Jordan Shearer was very good. Tallmadge starter Jared Burick was slightly better.
Burick struck out five, walked two, hit one batter and pitched a one-hit shutout to lead the Blue Devils to a 1-0 victory over the Leopards in a Division II district final game at Canal Park on Wednesday.
"He shut us down," Louisville coach Brian Warner said. "We got some good swings in but we hit the ball right at guys. It was a tough night."
It was the second consecutive day that the Blue Devils got solid starting pitching. Zach Boyd allowed just three hits and one run in Tallmadge's 6-1 win over Marlington on Tuesday.
"Those two guys [Boyd and Burick] have been four-year starters,” Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn said. “They have been in all of these big games for four years from the best teams we have played in the regular season all the way through tournament time. When they go to the mound we feel pretty good about their opportunity to throw a good game."
The Tallmadge offense gave Burick just enough help to get the win. Scott Seeker had a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth inning to score Phillip Glasser to decide the game.
“I knew that their pitcher was dealing today," Seeker said. "As much as I wanted to put a ball in the gap, I knew that I had to just stay within myself and do my job to drive a run in for my team. Right off the bat, I knew that the ball was deep enough [in center field], and that it would score Phil. He runs pretty well."
The sacrifice fly by Seeker spoiled an impressive performance by Shearer. The junior allowed just three hits, struck out three, walked two, hit one batter and pitched a complete game for Louisville. Both walks were intentional.
The performance was made even more impressive by the fact Shearer pitched two innings of scoreless relief on Tuesday in the 4-3 extra inning-win over Norton in the district semifinals.Shearer struck out four of the six Panthers he faced Tuesday but showed no obvious signs of wear and tear.
"He was dealing," Warner said. "Nobody wanted this game more than he did. He's a talented guy but he also works very hard. He has a bright future in the game. We get him back for one more year and I'm happy about that."
The lone hit from Louisville came from a familiar source. Junior Bryce Zuppe had a two-out double in the third inning. Zuppe had a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning in the 4-3 win over Norton on Tuesday.
"He's a competitor," Warner said. "That's another guy that I'm glad that I'm going to have back next year.”