With the Northern Ohio League title on the line, Ontario coach Dan Gorbett admitted he wasn't sure what to expect from starting pitcher Mason Goodwin.
"Mason's pitched us some good games, (but) he's been a little inconsistent this year," Gorbett said. "So we were concerned how he would do in a big game."
A little more than two hours after Goodwin threw his first pitch, Gorbett had his answer.
Columbian’s Aaron Sostaric puts the tag on Ontario’s Paul Homan after a wild throw to first.
Columbian third baseman Jack Burkes tracks a ground ball down the line that eventually went foul Monday against Ontario in Tiffin.
"Boy, he answered the call," the coach said.
Working off an inside fastball that Columbian hitters had trouble laying off, Goodwin pitched a complete-game shutout, limiting the Tornadoes to four hits as the Warriors claimed the NOL championship with an 8-0 victory.
This is Ontario's first season in the NOL. They took the title behind Goodwin, who improved to 6-0 while striking out seven.
"To come in here and shut out Tiffin, I never thought that was going to happen," Gorbett said. "He had that high fastball, and he was putting it right where he wanted it, where they think it's a strike and they go after it. And actually, his offspeed stuff was working better today than it has in the past, so I thought that was a big key, too. When your offspeed stuff is working, your fastball seems faster."
Columbian coach Curt Mellott gave Goodwin credit, but said his hitters helped him out.
"He pitched extremely well today," Mellott said. "It's frustrating. We just did not come ready to play. That's the bottom line, and that's disheartening."
Mellott said the team recognized Goodwin was being effective inside.
"We didn't make any adjustments on the inner half; I kind of chirped at our team about making an adjustment, and making sure we were looking inner half," Mellott said. "And we continued to hit balls off our hands. Mentally, we were not locked in today, and I'm not sure how that can happen on a day like today."
Ontario (18-3, 10-2 NOL) scored single runs in each of the first two innings, but left the bases loaded each time. It got some breathing room in the third when No. 9 hitter Ridge Jackson hit a two-out RBI double off starter Aaron Sostaric to make it 3-0. Brad Dretzka followed with a two-run single, and the lead increased to 5-0.
"That had me concerned, that we kept the door open for them by leaving so many guys on base," Gorbett said. "(Columbian's) pitchers made the pitches when they needed to, and we scratched enough runs out there to get it."
TC (13-11, 9-3) used six different pitchers in the game. Sostaric started, going 3 1/3 innings in taking the loss. He allowed five runs, but struck out five. He also doubled at the plate. Nate Hoyda had a pair of singles for the Tornadoes.
The Tornadoes are back in action today against St. Marys Memorial, for their senior day.