Friday, April 9th, 2010
By Gary R. Rasberry
Wenning pitches Cavs past Rangers
COLDWATER - The weather may have been a little chilly, but the pitching was warmed up and ready to go at Veterans Field in Coldwater on Thursday.
Cavalier ace Keith Wenning and New Knoxville starter Jake Lawler put on a show in the opening Midwest Athletic Conference game of the season.
In the end, Wenning got the better end of the stick as the Cavaliers won 3-0. The game was originally set to be at New Knoxville, but field conditions prompted the move to Veterans Field.
"That's definitely a game there," said Coldwater head coach Brian Harlamert. "We've been playing some solid teams, but when the MAC starts, that shows how good they are."
Wenning was sharp as anticipated on the day, striking out 14 batters, with at least one strikeout every inning.
"Wenning's a good pitcher. Everyone knows that," said New Knoxville coach Ron Reineke. "I thought my kids did okay with him. I thought we started to time him later in the game."
Lawler had the Cavaliers baffled early on. The Ranger southpaw scattered two hits and two walks over the first four innings as the game was deadlocked at 0-0.
"Jake did a real good job tonight," said Reineke. "He kept them off a bit with his pitch changes - fastball, curveball, change-ups. He did a good job keeping them off-stride."
"(Lawler) threw a great game," said Harlamert. "We were kind of surprised with his velocity a little bit. ... He battled. When he missed (Lawler walked five), he didn't miss by much. Just shows the MAC is that strong."
The Ranger defense, however, looked a bit chilled from the fifth inning on, resulting in Coldwater taking the lead.
In the fifth, Ethan Bettinger led off with a triple, but after Alex Kramer walked, Bettinger was picked off third base by Ranger catcher Cody Horstman with Kramer advancing to second. Chad Westgerdes followed by singling in Kramer for the go-ahead run, but later Westgerdes was thrown out leaning too far off third after Adam Rammel reached on an error, ending the threat.
"We scored one in the fifth and it really should have been three," said Harlamert. "I think it's just situations where they were trying to steal a base and Ethan got off a little too far and got picked. Chad slipped coming around and got picked. Maybe a little too aggressive, but also a little bit not knowing the situation."
Coldwater got insurance in the sixth. Alex Winner pinch-hit for Jordan Woeste and reached on a single, then the re-entered Woeste went to second on a throwing error. Colin Paynter came on to bunt Woeste to third, then Nate Piper put down the perfect squeeze bunt to bring Woeste in to make it 2-0. The Cavaliers added the last run in the top of the seventh when Kramer scored from second on a deep fly ball to right-centerfield by Adam Rammel.
In all, the Rangers made five errors over the last three innings, resulting in two unearned runs.
"My defense, which I know is the strong point of the team, just had a few dumb errors," said Reineke. "We can't have those, especially against a team like Coldwater, they make you pay."
Westgerdes and Wenning each had two hits for the Cavaliers.
Coldwater (5-1, 1-0 MAC) is back in action today, hosting potential sectional foe Lima Central Catholic. New Knoxville (3-2, 0-1 MAC) is back to its home diamond tonight to face Anna.
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