Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
By Mark Ruschau
Cavaliers rebound after blowing lead
COLDWATER - The Mercer County ACME regular season ended in wild fashion on Tuesday evening as the Coldwater Cavaliers let a six-run lead slip away, but then scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the St. Henry Redskins, 10-9, at Veterans Field.
Coldwater's 7-1 record against the Mercer County ACME teams earns the Cavs the number-one seed in the county sectional tournament, which begins on Friday night at the Wally Post Athletic Complex. St. Henry finished 1-7 against Mercer County foes.
Trailing 9-3 after four innings, St. Henry began its comeback with three runs in the sixth to cut the deficit in half. Brady Kremer had an RBI double and Brad Heitkamp had the big blow of the inning as his double to the gap in right-centerfield plated a pair of runs.
In the top of the seventh, Caleb Heitkamp doubled, Ben Bruns singled and Chase Kessen reached on an error to load the bases for St. Henry.
Kurt Koesters then hit a groundball to short which was mishandled for an error allowing two runs to score, making the score 9-8.
Brad Heitkamp then plated Kessen with the tying run on a fielder's choice when a throw to second base for an out was too late.
After Mitch Davis walked to load the bases, Coldwater coach Tom Brunswick called up Ethan Bettinger to close the door and Bettinger got the job done as he struck out Kleinhenz and got Trey Rutschilling to bounce out.
The game looked headed for extra innings as St. Henry's Caleb Heitkamp got the first two Cavaliers out to start the bottom of the seventh. However, Bettinger then blooped a single to centerfield, went to second on a wild pitch and scored the game-winning run on a single by Drew Klosterman.
Despite the loss, St. Henry coach Mike Gast was pleased with the performance of his squad.
"I am ecstatic with the way we battled back tonight. That is one thing we have not done this summer is fight. All summer teams have gotten ahead of us and tonight we fought. Although Coldwater got the last hit, it was a great game overall.
"Although we gave up 10 runs tonight, pitching had been our strong suit all summer," continued Gast. "I am not too concerned with our pitchers, the one big inning hurt us, but the pitching will continue to come along and it will be there."
Although his team was able to salvage the win, Brunswick was not only concerned with the blown lead by the Cavaliers, but the fact that his team committed five errors which led to four unearned runs.
"I was happy with the offense, especially early in the game, we swung the bats well and we got some timely hits. At the end of the game, we should of never of been in that situation," said Brunswick. "The only good thing was that we won the game. Sure you are happy with the win, but there has to be a great deal of improvement defensively. I think a lot of the problems tonight was our mindset. When the ball is hit, you have to want it hit to you and not be surprised when it is hit to you. We need to make the play when it needs to be done."
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Mostly cloudy, snow
Mostly cloudy, snow