Bryant Billing and Jack Kramer on the Call as Features Russia and Versailles fromDay Air Ballpark


Two backyard rivals travel 40 minutes south to play a scheduled baseball game on Saturday afternoon.

Weather permitting, the Russia Raiders, last year’s state champs in Division-IV, tangle with the D-III Versailles Tigers at the Dayton Dragons Day Air Ballpark. Heading into a rainy Friday, Russia was 1-0 in its single game played, and Versailles was 2-1, winning one-run decisions over Arcanum and Eaton., “the radio on your phone for high school sports,” provides coverage of Saturday’s tilt starting at 2:30 PM with highlights of the 2022 state semi-final and championship game triumphs. First pitch is slated for 3 PM.

Jack Kramer and Bryant Billing, who followed the Raiders closely last spring, are behind the microphones on Saturday afternoon.

Weather forecasts call for windy conditions and rapidly dropping temperatures through the 40’s.

Nine-year head coach Kevin Phlipot led Russia to the state title game in 2017. Minster nipped the Raiders, 2-1, on a walk-off single in the seventh inning.

Last June, Braylon Cordonnier, Hayden Quinter and Aiden Shappie exploded for three hits each and drove in a total of six runs as Russia whipped Van Wert Lincolnview and ace pitcher Landon Price, 10-4, for the state crown. Xavier Phlipot tossed a complete game and struck out five.

Russia returns all but a couple regulars from last spring’s starting nine.

Many of the players who were part of that state championship baseball squad paced Russia to the state semi-final contest in basketball just two weeks ago.

Since then, the Raiders have scrimmaged a few times on the diamond, including a competitive outing versus Minster last Tuesday. Russia rolled up 21 runs at Fairlawn on Thursday.

First-year Versailles head coach Brad Koopman, an assistant the previous eight seasons, liked what he saw when his Tigers opened this week with an extra-inning triumph versus Arcanum. Junior AJ Griesdorn nailed the game-winning base knock in the ninth inning. Senior Joe Ruhenkamp pitched the majority of the contest. Koopman’s Tigers pounded out 12 hits and scored in the sixth to force extras.

The Raiders and Tigers last met on the baseball field in May 2021. That contest was postponed in the middle innings with Russia leading, 4-2. The game was never completed.

The Versailles baseball program last reached the state final four in 2016, the first time since 2000. The Tigers own four Midwest Athletic Conference championships in baseball and three outright tiles.

In total, the MAC has earned 15 state crowns in baseball. In 1965 Versailles won only ten games in a rain-soaked season, but got hot at the right time and earned a Class-A Ohio championship prior to entering the MAC.

Russia, Anna and Fort Loramie from the Shelby County Athletic League have all earned multiple state crowns in baseball. The Raiders took state titles last June and in 1971; the Rockets, in 1972 and 1980; and the Redskins, in 2007, 2010 and 2018.

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