Friday, July 6th, 2012
By Gary R. Rasberry
Celina clinches berth to districts
Mercer County ACME Sectional Tournament
ST. HENRY - Once again, a fast start gave Celina the advantage as the Bulldogs secured the second berth to next week's district tournament after holding off a determined Parkway squad for a 10-6 win in the elimination bracket final of the Mercer County ACME sectional tournament at the Wally Post Athletic Complex.
Celina was able to avenge its loss to the Panthers on Monday.
Just as it did on Wednesday, Celina got some early offense, scoring three runs off Austin Adams in the first inning. The Bulldogs' Cody Vogel had an RBI single while Kyle Berry belted a two-run single.
"Before the game, I told them we needed to get out on top," said Celina's coach Todd Steinbrunner. "First inning we had bases loaded and I thought 'déjà vu all over again' after we played them the last time and had problems scoring. Kyle Berry came up with a big hit that inning."
Parkway, however, would not be down for long, scoring a run in the bottom of the first and then tying the game in the third inning. Jordan Stephenson scored in the third frame on a wild pitch while Tanner Bates later doubled to plate Kameron Roehm.
"Austin had a hard time getting strikes in the first inning," said Parkway's coach Kirk Stephenson. "Then we had a couple miscues. Celina got the hits they didn't get the first time they played us. They made the most of it."
Celina quickly regained the momentum with three runs in the fourth inning. Vogel and Aric Fickert had RBI singles while Kaleb Kuhn added an RBI sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs iced the game with four runs in the fifth inning as Jimmy Luebke highlighted the outburst with a two-run single.
Berry, making his first appearance in the tournament after returning from vacation, threw six plus innings to get the win. A nearly one-hour delay because of lightning kept Berry from going the distance and Riley Luebke came on to get the final three outs.
"He just got back from vacation yesterday. Couldn't ask for anything more out of him," said Steinbrunner of Berry. "I told him when he showed up for batting practice today he was on the mound and to give me what he could give me."
"Proud of the guys. They didn't give up," said Stephenson. "We came back and tied it up at 3-3 and then it was a battle back and forth. Todd had his team prepared and did well tonight."
Celina now faces Coldwater, which defeated Parkway on Wednesday to give the Cavaliers the other district berth, tonight for the sectional title starting at 6 p.m. If Celina wins, a second game will be played immediately following the first game to determine the seeding for next week.
Fickert was 4-for-5 at the plate for Celina while Jimmy Luebke and Vogel each added two hits.
Parkway's Cain Pontsler went 2-for-4 and finished the tournament batting .600 (9-for-15).
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