Heading into the Class 2A State Championship Tournament on a seven-game winning streak and a 23-3 record, ODA's Varsity Baseball team knew they were walking into uncharted territory. As the first Thunder baseball team to advance to state final four, every player knew there was the potential to make school history. Click here to view photos from the game. Click here to watch SNN's coverage of the game.
Many of the ODA student-athletes have played baseball together since they were in Middle School, some traveling to Cooperstown to polish their skills. During the semifinal game against Trinity Christian Academy (17-8-2), their familiarity with each other paid off—the team's great chemistry helped the players to anticipate each other's moves and work cohesively. Although trailing 2-1 as they headed into the seventh inning, bunts by Ryan Kelly ’21, Nolan Lewellen ’21, and Carter Dierdorf ’22, and a line drive by Aidan Marino '22 resulted in scoring four runs. The game was decided when pitcher Tyler Colditz '21 took the mound—Trinity Christian failed to score and the Thunder added one more win to their scorecard.
The following day the Thunder took the field once again at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, looking confident and ready to bring their A-game against St. Johns Country Day (24-7). Steady pitching from Josh Cone '22 and Tyler Colditz kept St. Johns at bay, with the Thunder taking a 5-3 lead after home runs from Aidan Marino and Nolan Lewellen. ODA secured the win in the bottom of the seventh when Tyler Colditz struck out the final batter. The Thunder rushed the field to celebrate the win, bringing home their first State Championship in Out-of-Door history.
"We are proud of our team and their coaches for their determination in accomplishing their goal of a state title," said ODA Athletic Director Kippie Crouch. "It is the perfect ending to a fantastic season. Congratulations to Coach Matthews, the assistant coaches, and all the players on winning what we hope is the first of many more championships to come!"
Friday, at the Uihlein Campus, the team was honored at a pep rally in the Wood Family Amphitheater. Athletes' parents, faculty, staff, and the Upper School student body gathered to cheer for the team and celebrate their huge win. Congratulations to the ODA Thunder Baseball team for bringing home the State Championship title! Special thanks to Ansley White ‘22 for providing photos from the game!