The Eagles added a run in the third inning when Caden Crawford walked, moved to second on a balk and advanced to third on a wild pitch. CHCA sophomore Johnathan Russell grounded out to Shawnee shortstop Patrick Fultz to score Crawford from third base and extend their lead to 3-0.
Shawnee cut the lead to 3-1 when Moore doubled in the fourth inning and scored on a passed ball.
In the fifth inning, CHCA scored two runs when Russell’s bunt was overthrown by Whalen to first baseman Caleb Woodland to extend the Eagles lead to 5-1.
“We’ve had a lot of teams make errors against us that we’ve taken advantage of and we’ve done the same,” Armstrong said. “It just comes down to in playoff baseball you can’t make those. The guys know it. It was a team effort. Everybody needed to pick each other up. The younger kids learned that that can’t happen next year.”
Shawnee cut the lead to 5-2 on a sacrifice fly by Moore, but the Braves weren’t able to bring any more runs home.
CHCA (20-8) advanced to face the winner of Cincinnati Country Day and Cincinnati McNicholas in a D-III regional final game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Wright State University.
The Braves will graduate seven seniors who led the program to its first district title since 2015. After the game, Armstrong told the seniors they made a major impact on the program since he took over three years ago.
“It was phenomenal and it set a new standard for everybody,” he said. “The seniors were here when I took over three years ago. They believed in what we were trying to do and you could tell. The first year we had 18 wins and this year we had 20 wins. I think they set a new standard for the program. Those guys left it on a really good note for the guys coming up to take over.”