Monday, July 2nd, 2007
By Gary R. Rasberry
Top seeds open with close wins
ST. HENRY - As expected the top seeds advanced to the winners' bracket final of the 2007 Mercer County ACME sectional, held at the Wally Post Athletic Complex in St. Henry.
But that didn't mean they had easy advancements.
Coldwater, which went undefeated in circuit play this summer, beat St. Henry 5-3 in a game that got emotional. The host Redskins opened the tournament by rallying late in the first game to beat Fort Recovery 5-4 in eight innings.
The last game of the day proved to be the most exciting, as Parkway got a two-run homer from Tyler Thompson in the top of the seventh to break a 6-all tie against Celina. The Panthers, however, had to hold off a Bulldog surge in the bottom of the inning to take an 8-7 win.
Parkway and Coldwater, which played on Friday with the Cavaliers winning 4-0, will battle for one of the two district spots on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Tonight's action will be in consolation bracket action. Fort Recovery plays Celina at 6 p.m. with Marion Local playing St. Henry in the second game of the night.
Celina, which beat Marion Local 12-4 to get the chance to face Parkway, was looking to reverse the trend of the two regular season games, where Parkway came from behind to win.
Things didn't look so good as Derik Snyder blasted a two-run shot over left-center with Mike Baldauf aboard to make the score 2-0 in the top of the first.
Celina got a run back in the bottom of the inning, but Parkway added two more runs to make 4-1 through 31/2. Celina, however, finally found an opening against Panther starter Jensen Painter, scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth to cut it to 4-3.
Then things got really wild in the bottom of the fifth. Jeremy Kerr singled to lead off, followed by John Bonvillian and Dustin Woods each drawing a walk. Brian Brockly singled in Kerr with a single to tie the game and keep the bases loaded. After Chad Schumann struck out, Kyle Trafzer came on to hit for Ben Prenger. Trafzer laid down the bunt. Painter came home with the throw, but Thompson was not standing on the plate to get the force, allowing Bonvillian to score. With Travis Stachler up, Celina coach Ron Fortkamp called for the squeeze, but the Panthers sniffed it out and Thompson tagged Woods for the second out. Brockly tried for third and Thompson threw to the base, but the throw was wild, allowing Brockly to score to make it a 6-4 game.
Parkway came back up again to tie things in the sixth. After Levon Archer came home on a Drew Luginbill single and Joel Henkle flied out, Kerr dropped a third strike on Baldauf and tried to throw down. The throw was off Baldauf's back, allowing Ethan Hayes to tie the game scoring from second.
In the seventh, Snyder led off with a single. After Painter moved the runner up with a grounder, Thompson took a 0-2 Bonvillian offering into the trees in left for the second Panther homer of the night, breaking the tie and making it look like Parkway was on easy street.
"We got the hits when we needed them," said Parkway coach Josh Crouch. "That's basically what happened. "We got out there and needed the hits. We stepped up and didn't leave guys on.
"Jordan stepped up. This year he's really become a leader. That shot he hit, I lost it in the lights."
Celina, however, threw a couple of speed bumps in the way in the bottom of the inning. Brockly led off the seventh with a single. Schumann grounded to short, but the throw to second for the force was wild, leaving all hands safe. Prenger tried to bunt the runners, but popped it to Henkle at first for the first out. Snyder, in his second inning of relief of Painter, hit Stachler to load the bases for Jared Bader. Bader chopped one to the mound. This time Snyder and Thompson got the play right and forced out Brockly, but the throw to first for the potential double play was off the mark, allowing pinch-runner Tyler Renfro to score to cut it to 8-7. Darrin Waterman, struggling with a 0-for-4 night, flew out to right to end the game.
"Got a little rocky there towards the end," said Crouch. "Jensen threw well, but they just hit him. Celina has improved to this point. They gave us a run."
Coldwater 5, St. Henry 3
Coldwater 5, St. Henry 3
The Redskins jumped out to a 1-0 after one inning as Nick Bruns, who saw plenty of action in the first game, looked to keep the Redskins in the winners' bracket.
In the fourth, though, errors played a key as the Cavaliers took over the lead for good. Bill Geeslin led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice. After a flyout by Chad Westgerdes, Tony Harlamert walked to put runners on the corner. Bruns tried a pickoff at first, but the ball got away, allowing Geeslin to score the tying run. Keith Wenning followed with a walk and Keith Schoenherr suffered the first of three straight hit by pitches from Bruns - who plunkned four Cavs on the day. Kyle Ahrens made the free baserunners hurt with a deep shot to center, which was then misplayed for a two-base error, clearing the bases to make it 4-1.
"Kyle struggled early this season. That was a great at-bat there," said Coldwater coach Romie Schwieterman. "He really tattooed that one."
Geeslin battled for 51/3 innings before giving way to reliable closer Alex Geier, who picked up his ninth save of the summer with 12/3 innings of one-hit baseball.
"He gets a little feisty once in awhile and we have to go out and settle him down," said Schwieterman. "He's a battler. He hates to give it up, but it's easy when you have Nut (Geier) coming in. I said 'Maybe we'll get a win for you and a save for Nut.'"
Ahrens and Geeslin came up big at the plate for Coldwater in the first game, each collecting two hits.
Nick Rindler, who had a solid game in the first game, went 2-for-3. Darren Siefring and Neil Schwieterman each added RBI singles for the Redskins.
Celina 12, Marion Local 4
Unlike the first two meetings, both close battles, Celina broke the game open in the top of the third, plating five runs in the inning.
Celina started third by getting four straight hits off Alex Subler, with Jeremy Kerr and Dustin Woods getting back-to-back doubles before a walk to Brian Brockly. Chad Schumann loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch to bring up Ben Prenger, who singled and cleared the bases.
The Flyers, though, came back with three runs in the bottom of the third. After the third, though, Travis Stachler settled down got through the fourth inning before giving way to Brent Riemesch in the fifth.
Celina got some of its cushion back in the fourth, all with two outs. Schumann had the big hit with a two-run single, then kept the Flyer infield enticed in a rundown to allow Brockly to score from third.
Riemesch got into trouble in the sixth, walking the bases loaded on the first three batters he faced before enticing Troy Prenger to pop to second. Pinch-hitter Eric Rutschilling blooped a single to score Ryan Albers, but Riemesch got out of the jam by striking out Marcus Moeller and getting Tyler Thobe to pop back to the mound to exit the inning with the bases loaded.
St. Henry 5, Fort Recovery 4 (8 innings)
St. Henry 5, Fort Recovery 4 (8 innings)
Trailing 4-0 in the top of the sixth, St. Henry came back with three runs in the sixth before tying the game in the seventh on Darren Siefring's sacrifice fly to right, scoring Brent Kremer.
Jason Wourms' triple with two out in the top of the eighth score Jordan Jacobs, who made it to third after a hampered squeeze attempt.
Fort Recovery had a chance to force a ninth inning, getting a runner to third before Bruns, got out of the jam.
Bruns, who pitched the seventh, but went back to shortstop to start the eighth, which technically earned him the save as well as the win.
Rindler belted two triples to pace the Redskins.
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