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Kennedy conquers Div. IV field for baseball title

Cameron Hollobaugh, pitcher and shortstop for the Kennedy baseball team, hoists the state championship trophy while surrounded by his teammates Sunday. Kennedy won its first baseball state championship in school history after the squad beat Van Wert Lincolnview, 4-0, in Akron. Hollobaugh graduated in May. For complete coverage, see Page B1.

AKRON — Kennedy’s baseball team won its first state title in program history after a 4-0 victory Sunday over Van Wert Lincolnview at Akron’s Canal Park.

Junior pitcher Gavin Shrum threw a shutout for the Eagles striking out seven and recording two hits.

The young Kennedy roster featured seven players who had never played high school baseball before the season. The Eagles had six freshmen and a sophomore who couldn’t make his debut due to the 2020 season being canceled. Due to the success of the basketball team, which made it to the regional finals, the baseball team was practicing with only five players, not enough to field a full lineup, until the basketball season concluded.

In addition to a young lineup, the Eagles also had a first-year coach in Jim Ciambotti. Despite all of that, Kennedy overcame to win the area’s first state title in baseball since South Range in 2018 and Champion the year before.

“We knew today was going to be a pitchers duel from everything we gathered on them in the last 24 hours,” the first-year coach said. “They have tremendous pitching, so we knew it was going to be a tight, tight game. We emphasize defense, obviously it didn’t show in that one inning (with two errors), but it worked out.”

Kennedy ends its season at 22-9 and graduates one senior, pitcher and shortstop Cam Hollobaugh. The three-sport athlete scored the team’s opening run Sunday to get the team rolling. He caps off a decorated four-year career at Kennedy with a state championship after helping guide the football team to the state finals and the basketball team to the regional finals.

“It means everything to me because I’m a senior and to go out in my last game I ever get to play at Kennedy and win a state championship, there’s no better feeling,” Hollobaugh said. “It’s surreal. It’s just the best feeling in the world. I’m going out with a win, and I’m getting a ring. I’m just so excited.

“This has been the best four years of my life. Athletically, academically, it’s just been the best. I couldn’t have asked for a better school, program, anything.”


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