Special Photo: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Brookstone's Brewer Carter delivers to Wesleyan's Conor Welton in the first inning of their Class A semifinal series Monday afternoon.
COLUMBUS -- In near 90-degree heat, after pitching a dominant complete-game three hitter, Devin Stanton went for a run around the outfield.
The coaches didn't make Stanton run, he opted for the extra exercise.
"That's just who I am,' said Stanton who struck out 13 Brookstone batters. "I have got to get ready for Friday."
Stanton pitched the Wolves to a Game 2 win and sweep of Brookstone in the state baseball semifinals on the road, sending Wesleyan to its third straight state title series chasing consecutive championship No. 3.
"Three in a row is something special," Stanton said. "It is something everyone is going to remember around the state."
Wesleyan will face either Aquinas or Walker on the road for the championship starting Friday.
The road is fine with the Wolves. With Monday's sweep of the Cougars, Wesleyan is a winner of three straight road series. Wesleyan won the first game 9-7 and the second 4-2 to end Brookstone's playoff run for the second straight season.
Before the start of Monday's series, Wesleyan players got word Brookstone players thought their slightly larger field would limit the Wolves home-run power. One Cougar told the local paper that balls that left Wesleyan's field in its sweep last year, would be outs at Brookstone.
The larger field thought lasted through one batter.
The second batter Wesleyan sent to the plate Monday homered. Seven more home runs followed over the two games. Conor Welton hit one in each game and Daniel Cardwell hit two in consecutive at-bats in Game 1. Cardwell went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two home runs, a double and a walk.
"We hit the ball really well," Cardwell said. "They certainly went out."
Three homers went out to straightaway center field. One landed deep in the trees in left field and another fell in the outfield of the neighboring softball field.
"The ball was flying out of here today because it's hot," Wesleyan coach Mike Shaheen said. "The guys did a great job of hitting the ball hard. I am just glad they didn't hit it right at people."
Four of the Wolves' home runs came in the Game 1 slugfest. Welton homered in his first at bat and Wesleyan scored in every inning but the fifth. Brookstone tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, ending starter pitcher Strother White's day. The tie didn't last long. Cardwell hit his second home run to regain the Wesleyan lead.
But Brookstone answered with its only homer of the day to send the game to the seventh knotted at 7-7.
Wesleyan then turned to small ball to win the game. A sacrifice bunt followed a lead-off single by Welton and the sacrifice paid off when Gardner Heaner doubled. Mason Colquitt gave the Wolves insurance when he scored Heaner with a sacrifice fly.
"Baseball is not always a home-run game," Shaheen said. "You have to execute."
The start of Game 2 looked like another home-run game. Stanton started slow -- allowing an error, a hit batter and three hits -- to lead to a pair of runs. It could have been worse. Brookstone loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, but after a near-grand slam hit off the wall, Stanton struck out the next two batters and then picked up a ground ball and sprinted to first to end the inning.
"When (Stanton) only gave up two runs in that inning, I knew he would be fine," Shaheen said.
"Coming in I knew I had my stuff working for me," Stanton said. "I just had to settle down."
Kevin O'Leary and Welton erased the two-run deficit with back-to-back solo home runs to lead off the Wolves' half of the first and Stanton cruised from there. Only four more Brookstone runners reached base the rest of the game and two reached on dropped third strikes.
Carter Garrison became the fifth different Wolves' batter to homer when he hit the eventual game-winner to lead off the fifth. Stanton struck out the final two batters to end the game.
"It's the best way to do it, that's for sure," he said.
And off he went running around the field while the rest of the Wolves packed up for another road trip, this time with a trophy on the line.
"It's unbelievable, three times," the senior Cardwell said of the potential three-peat. "We've got to finish it off."