Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
By Gary R. Rasberry
Celina advances to state tournament
District 4 ACME Tournament
  COLDWATER - After three trips to the plate without a hit, Celina's Kahl Knapke was due when he stepped up in the bottom of the sixth in the championship game of the District 4 ACME baseball tournament.
  And did he ever come through.
Knapke's double to rightfield with the bases loaded brought three runs in and led Celina to the district championship with an 8-4 win over Coldwater on Tuesday night at Veterans Field in Coldwater.
The win moves Celina to the state ACME tournament for the first time since 2001. The Bulldogs will face off against Anthony Wayne on Saturday in the state tourney opener at Montgomery Field in Celina at 2:30 p.m.
"It was a battle all the way to the end," said Celina coach Rob Howell, whose team did not lose a game in the district tournament. "We knew it coming in, Coldwater's a great team, as always. A great tradition. You know what? We're building our own tradition, right here, at Celina."
The game was a back-and-forth affair as Coldwater, which had to hold off Minster 11-7 in the early elimination game to make the championship game, began to show the effects of a tired pitching staff.
Reece Klenke, who had to come on for the final three innings in the Minster game, used up his eligibility - 10 innings over three days - with three innings of one-hit baseball to start the game against Celina.
"You have to remember how many innings your pitchers have thrown and ask guys to do things that they normally don't do as far as pitching-wise," said Coldwater coach Tom Brunswick. "That being said, Reece did an outstanding job in the 10 innings he was allowed to pitch. ... The other kids did okay, too."
The Cavaliers scored two runs off Celina pitcher Kyle Berry in the top of the first, both coming on errors to render them unearned.
But Berry bowed his back for a second straight start and slowed down the Cavaliers. Berry allowed just one more run before coming out in the fifth inning as southpaw Cody Vogel came on to finish the game.
"That is two very good pitching performances by two young pitchers," said Howell of Berry, an incoming sophomore, and Vogel, who will be a freshman. "... They simply battled tough and threw strikes, and allowed us to stay in the game."
Celina tied the game at 2-all in the bottom of the fourth when Mitch Albers' groundout to short allowed Brandon Brooks to score. Coldwater came back to add a run in the fifth, but Celina used ingenuity to grab the lead.
After Celina's Mike Siefker scored on Brooks' sacrifice fly, the Bulldogs were left with Kyle Markle at third and Knapke at first. The Bulldogs then worked the delayed double steal to perfection. Knapke slowed up moving to second to entice the pickoff throw and get into a rundown. That allowed Markle to slide in safely under the tag of Aaron Rammel at the plate to give Celina its first lead.
Coldwater tied the game on an odd play. With Tyler Jutte at third and Eric Schmackers at the plate, the Cavaliers put on the squeeze play. Schmackers tried to bunt with two strikes as Jutte sprinted in and the ball got away from Celina catcher Dylan Cummins as Jutte slid in, with Jutte out on the strikeout after the throw to first.
Celina's Derek Waterman reached base on a single with one out in the bottom of the sixth before Siefker lofted a deep fly to center that was caught by Nate Kaup for the second out. Billger was then hit by a pitch and Markle reached base safely on a misplayed ball at third, leaving all hands safe for Knapke.
Knapke, who was 4-for-13 in the tournament hit a laser to the right-center gap, clearing the bases for a 7-4 lead on the three-run double.
"I was 0-for-2 with a walk coming into (the at-bat) and I felt I hadn't done much to help the team. I felt I needed to do something to help the team out," said Knapke, who scored later on a Brooks single. "I couldn't have done it without the other guys. I felt I needed to come through. I took a deep breath and hit it."
Vogel made short work of the Cavaliers in the seventh frame, getting Rammel and Klenke to fly out before Ethan Bettinger singled. Knapke recorded the final putout, snagging Drew Klosterman's fly to center to end the game.
"It's a tough road to go," said Brunswick of going through the elimination bracket and needing to win four games in four days to advance to state. "Kids battled all the way through. That game came down to where we didn't make a few plays."
Ryan Paulus went 3-for-3 to pace Celina on offense while Brooks had two RBI. Waterman and Markle each scored twice.
Bettinger had two hits to pace Coldwater.
Elimination Game
Coldwater 11, Minster 7
The Cavaliers looked primed for a quick game, scoring nine runs over the first three innings off a trio of Minster pitchers. Meanwhile, Klosterman held Minster to one hit over the first three innings of work.
The fourth inning, however, was much different. The Wildcats had three straight singles to start the inning and after an out, on a sacrifice fly, added a hit and a walk before Klosterman struck out Austin Knapke. Chase Paxson followed with a walk, forcing Brunswick to bring in Bettinger, who promptly gave up a bases-clearing double to Adam Niemeyer and a single to Ryan Hoying to bring in another run. In all, 13 Minster batters came to the plate resulting in seven runs to cut the deficit to 9-7.
When Klenke, who had thrown an inning on Sunday and three more on Monday, came on, the Minster bats went quiet. Klenke allowed one hit and a walk over the final three innings to get the win.
"I give Coldwater a lot of credit. They came out swinging the bats early," said Minster coach Scott Sherman. "They can just hit the ball hard. We had a couple mishaps on defense to give them a couple extra opportunities. Against good teams, you just can't do that."
Bettinger had a three-run home run in the second inning. Rammel, Klenke and Alex Stammen each had two hits.
Hoying went 3-for-3 for the Wildcats.By GARY R. RASBERRY
grasberry@dailystandard.com
COLDWATER - After three trips to the plate without a hit, Celina's Kahl Knapke was due when he stepped up in the bottom of the sixth in the championship game of the District 4 ACME baseball tournament.
  And did he ever come through.
Knapke's double to rightfield with the bases loaded brought three runs in and led Celina to the district championship with an 8-4 win over Coldwater on Tuesday night at Veterans Field in Coldwater.
The win moves Celina to the state ACME tournament for the first time since 2001. The Bulldogs will face off against Anthony Wayne on Saturday in the state tourney opener at Montgomery Field in Celina at 2:30 p.m.
"It was a battle all the way to the end," said Celina coach Rob Howell, whose team did not lose a game in the district tournament. "We knew it coming in, Coldwater's a great team, as always. A great tradition. You know what? We're building our own tradition, right here, at Celina."
The game was a back-and-forth affair as Coldwater, which had to hold off Minster 11-7 in the early elimination game to make the championship game, began to show the effects of a tired pitching staff.
Reece Klenke, who had to come on for the final three innings in the Minster game, used up his eligibility - 10 innings over three days - with three innings of one-hit baseball to start the game against Celina.
"You have to remember how many innings your pitchers have thrown and ask guys to do things that they normally don't do as far as pitching-wise," said Coldwater coach Tom Brunswick. "That being said, Reece did an outstanding job in the 10 innings he was allowed to pitch. ... The other kids did okay, too."
The Cavaliers scored two runs off Celina pitcher Kyle Berry in the top of the first, both coming on errors to render them unearned.
But Berry bowed his back for a second straight start and slowed down the Cavaliers. Berry allowed just one more run before coming out in the fifth inning as southpaw Cody Vogel came on to finish the game.
"That is two very good pitching performances by two young pitchers," said Howell of Berry, an incoming sophomore, and Vogel, who will be a freshman. "... They simply battled tough and threw strikes, and allowed us to stay in the game."
Celina tied the game at 2-all in the bottom of the fourth when Mitch Albers' groundout to short allowed Brandon Brooks to score. Coldwater came back to add a run in the fifth, but Celina used ingenuity to grab the lead.
After Celina's Mike Siefker scored on Brooks' sacrifice fly, the Bulldogs were left with Kyle Markle at third and Knapke at first. The Bulldogs then worked the delayed double steal to perfection. Knapke slowed up moving to second to entice the pickoff throw and get into a rundown. That allowed Markle to slide in safely under the tag of Aaron Rammel at the plate to give Celina its first lead.
Coldwater tied the game on an odd play. With Tyler Jutte at third and Eric Schmackers at the plate, the Cavaliers put on the squeeze play. Schmackers tried to bunt with two strikes as Jutte sprinted in and the ball got away from Celina catcher Dylan Cummins as Jutte slid in, with Jutte out on the strikeout after the throw to first.
Celina's Derek Waterman reached base on a single with one out in the bottom of the sixth before Siefker lofted a deep fly to center that was caught by Nate Kaup for the second out. Billger was then hit by a pitch and Markle reached base safely on a misplayed ball at third, leaving all hands safe for Knapke.
Knapke, who was 4-for-13 in the tournament hit a laser to the right-center gap, clearing the bases for a 7-4 lead on the three-run double.
"I was 0-for-2 with a walk coming into (the at-bat) and I felt I hadn't done much to help the team. I felt I needed to do something to help the team out," said Knapke, who scored later on a Brooks single. "I couldn't have done it without the other guys. I felt I needed to come through. I took a deep breath and hit it."
Vogel made short work of the Cavaliers in the seventh frame, getting Rammel and Klenke to fly out before Ethan Bettinger singled. Knapke recorded the final putout, snagging Drew Klosterman's fly to center to end the game.
"It's a tough road to go," said Brunswick of going through the elimination bracket and needing to win four games in four days to advance to state. "Kids battled all the way through. That game came down to where we didn't make a few plays."
Ryan Paulus went 3-for-3 to pace Celina on offense while Brooks had two RBI. Waterman and Markle each scored twice.
Bettinger had two hits to pace Coldwater.
Elimination Game
Coldwater 11, Minster 7
The Cavaliers looked primed for a quick game, scoring nine runs over the first three innings off a trio of Minster pitchers. Meanwhile, Klosterman held Minster to one hit over the first three innings of work.
The fourth inning, however, was much different. The Wildcats had three straight singles to start the inning and after an out, on a sacrifice fly, added a hit and a walk before Klosterman struck out Austin Knapke. Chase Paxson followed with a walk, forcing Brunswick to bring in Bettinger, who promptly gave up a bases-clearing double to Adam Niemeyer and a single to Ryan Hoying to bring in another run. In all, 13 Minster batters came to the plate resulting in seven runs to cut the deficit to 9-7.
When Klenke, who had thrown an inning on Sunday and three more on Monday, came on, the Minster bats went quiet. Klenke allowed one hit and a walk over the final three innings to get the win.
"I give Coldwater a lot of credit. They came out swinging the bats early," said Minster coach Scott Sherman. "They can just hit the ball hard. We had a couple mishaps on defense to give them a couple extra opportunities. Against good teams, you just can't do that."
Bettinger had a three-run home run in the second inning. Rammel, Klenke and Alex Stammen each had two hits.
Hoying went 3-for-3 for the Wildcats.
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