JEROMESVILLE — Hillsdale’s Jay Luikart authored a season for the ages and took Falcon fans on a ride they won’t soon forget.
The Richland Source Player of the Year, Luikart led Hillsdale to the Division IV state championship game last week at Akron’s Canal Park. The Falcons fell to Toronto 3-1 in the state final, two days after Luikart pitched Hillsdale to a 1-0 win over Minster in the state semifinals.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for my teammates, my coaches or the community,” Luikart said. “Everyone worked so hard to get here. I’m so proud of these guys.”
An outfielder, Luikart led the area with 11 home runs and 54 runs batted in. He batted .495, scored 46 runs and stole 20 bases without being caught.
As a pitcher, Luikart was 11-0 with 122 strikeouts and a 0.61 earned run average.
He was the Wayne County Athletic League Most Valuable Player and a two-time All-Ohio first team pick in Division IV. He will pitch at Wright State next year.
Luikart was joined by five other All-Ohioans on the All-Richland Source team.
Ontario’s Avery Fisher is headed to Ohio State after a storied high school career. The shortstop batted .400, scored 30 runs and stole 32 bases, earning a spot on the All-Ohio first team in Division II for a second straight season. He led the Warriors to a regional runner-up finish in 2018 and a share of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference crown this year.
Ashland’s Brennan Hunt was a first-team All-Ohioan in Division I. He batted .554 with 31 RBIs and 28 runs. The senior middle infielder is headed to Ohio Dominican. He was an Ohio Cardinal Conference first team pick and the District 9 Player of the Year in Division I.
Hillsdale’s Garrett Goodwin would have been a candidate for Player of the Year were it not for his teammate Luikart. A senior, Goodwin batted .432 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. He scored an area-best 51 runs, stole 13 bases and stroked 12 doubles. As a pitcher, he was 8-2 with 66 strikeouts and a 1.31 ERA. He joined Luikart on the All-Ohio first team in Division IV.
Loudonville’s Dylan Polen was a two-time All-Ohio first team pick in Division III. The senior batted an area-best .569 with 19 RBIs. Polen will play football at the College of Wooster.
Buckeye Central’s Brady Biglin was an All-Ohio second team pick in Division IV after helping the Bucks reach the district tournament. Biglin batted .413 with 22 runs scored. He was a District 9 first team pick in Division IV.
Shelby reached the Division II regional tournament and first baseman McGwire Albert was a big reason why. The junior batted .427 with 10 doubles and 21 runs scored. Albert was a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first team pick and a District 9 first team selection in Division II.
Clear Fork’s A.J. Blubaugh is headed to Division I Wisconsin-Milwaukee to pitch, but the right-hander could swing the bat, too. Blubaugh batted .396 with 26 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. He was a District 9 first team pick in Division II and a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first-teamer.
Pitchers who walked Plymouth’s Walker Elliott did so at their own peril. Elliott stole an area-best 55 bases to go with a .368 batting average. He scored 30 runs, helping the Big Red reach the district tournament. Elliott was a Division 9 first team pick in Division IV.
Galion’s Ryan Utz was a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first team pick and a District 9 first-teamer in Division II. Utz batted .394 with three home runs and 31 runs scored.
Hillsdale’s Ty Williams was one of the most productive players in north central Ohio. The sophomore belted five homers and knocked in 35 runs. Of his 36 hits, 17 went for extra bases. He was selected to the Wayne County Athletic League first team.