State tourney local reunion for Ironton, Loveland

Published 2:07 am Thursday, July 6, 2023

The 2023 Ironton Little League 50/70 All-Star team won the District 11 championship and will play in the state tournament the weekend of July 8-10. Team members are: kneeling left to right, Rhenin Russell, Reid Hunt, Barrett Waginger, Silas Ginger, Liam Almekinder, Jaxson Lavender; standing left to right, coach David Bridges , coach Mike Freeman, Brayden Neal, Chase Freeman, Jarrod Bridges, Ayden Justice, Noah Jones, Beckett Townsend and coach Isaac Sherman. (Tim Gearhart sports photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

A familiar face in a different place.

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When the Ironton 50/70 All-Stars take the field in this weekend’s state tournament at Ashtabula, they may be going against someone very familiar not only with Ironton but the Ironton Little League programs.

Tate Medinger stands by the monument that honors the 1993 Ironton League state championship team that includes his father Chris Medinger. (Photo Submitted)

Chris Medinger played in the Ironton Little League and for the Ironton Fighting Tigers baseball team.

Medinger is an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Loveland team that qualified for the 50/70 state tournament where they could meet up against the Ironton All-Star team coached by David Bridges.

The opportunity for the two teams from different parts of the state to meet is intriguing to Bridges.

“Coaching against Medinger I think will be a great game,” said Bridges. “I believe some parents and coaches will have a good time getting to catch up.”

The tournament begins on Saturday with Struthers facing Loveland at 9 a.m. and Ashtabula playing Cuyahoga Falls at noon.

Ironton plays at 6 p.m. against the winner of Ashtabula and Cuyahoga.

On Sunday, the Loveland-Struthers winner plays the Ironton-Ashtabula-Cuyahoga winner at 11 a.m.

“I believe we both have two great teams. I think it will be a great game for the fans and spectators to watch,” said Bridges. “I look forward to the state tournament. I believe in our boys and think we can go as far as they want to go.”

The Medinger family will meet up in Ashtabula for the Little League 50/70 State Tournament. From left to right, Loveland assistant coach Chris Medinger, Blake Medinger of Ironton, Tate Medinger of Loveland, and Brady Medinger and Nick Medinger of Ironton. All the Medingers played for the Ironton Little League except Tate. (Photo Submitted)

This group of Ironton All-Stars have won the district championship the past three years with Bridges as the coach.

Medinger’s son Tate, 13, plays infield for Loveland. Chris played for the Ironton teams that won three state tournaments including the 1990 team that was one win away from going to the Little League World Series.

Members of the 1993 state championship team included Josh Waginger who has a son, Barrett, on Ironton’s 50/70 team. Medinger also played on a team with Mike Freeman who is an Ironton 50/70 coach and has a son, Chase, on the team.

Chris’ wife, the former Julie Huff, went to school with Keely Ginger who is the mother of Ironton player Silas Ginger and former classmate Krissy Burcham Hunt has a son Reid on this year’s team.

“Josh and Mike and I grew up playing together. Watching our boys compete for one will make it real interesting and a lot of fun,” said Medinger.

“I still consider Ironton home and I’m still a big fan. I root for them all the way except when they play us. If we don’t win it, I hope it’s Ironton,” said Medinger.

The loser’s bracket games will be played at 3 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The championship bracket game is 11 a.m. on Monday and 2 p.m. if a second game is necessary.