Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
By Gary R. Rasberry
Cavaliers hold off Knights to win district crown
District 4 ACME Baseball Tournament Championship
MINSTER - Coldwater got an up-close feel of how Crestview can make a quick comeback.
Fortunately for the Cavaliers, there were none of the seventh-inning heroics for the Knights as they had the past two games as the Cavaliers captured the District 4 ACME baseball title for the first time since 2009 with a 5-3 win at Hanover Street Park in Minster.
The Cavaliers (23-4), who were already qualified for the State ACME tournament as the host team, play Shawnee at noon on Saturday at Veterans Field in the first game of the tournament. Crestview (17-4), who overcame 2-0 deficits in the seventh inning in the previous two games to make the championship game, takes the District 4 spot in the tournament and faces Ottawa-Glandorf at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Coldwater jumped out to a 5-0 lead by taking advantage of wildness. Four of the runs came home on wild pitches as Derek Thobe and Adam Klosterman scored when Elliot Callow had two wild pitches in the second inning. In the fourth, it was Mitch Heyne and pinch-runner Kraig Schoenherr coming home on a pair of wild pitches from Justin Overmyer, who like Callow had three wild pitches. The other run came in the third on Blake Spangler's sacrifice fly scoring Mitch Heyne.
"They gave us a few," said Coldwater coach Tom Brunswick. "We had just enough offense. I'd like to have a few more hits up there (three Crestview pitchers held Coldwater to five hits on the game). We ran the bases pretty well and got enough offense to hang on at the end.
Grant Muhlenkamp was looking sharp through the first five innings, scattering three hits and striking out three along the way.
But in the sixth, the Knights tried to get that late-game spark that led them to back-to-back seventh-inning rallies against St. Henry and Minster the previous two games.
Muhlenkamp walked Brock Rolsten to start the sixth. Brunswick wasted no time in calling on southpaw Brandon Kunk from left field. Kunk, normally on target, was not when facing Mitchell Rickard and Bryce Richardson, walking both to load the bases for Isaiah Simerman. Simerman quickly made Kunk pay, driving a shot to the farthest reaches of Hanover Street Park for a bases-clearing triple that quickly turned the score to 5-3 with nobody out and a runner on third base.
The hit snapped Kunk from his struggles in finding the strike zone, as he struck out Jordan Roop and Adrian Camp before getting Jake Lippi to ground back to the mound to end the threat.
"We were losing momentum," said Brunswick. "We took Grant out to get ready for Saturday. He was at 65-70 pitches. Brandon came in, and his role is to get people out. He struggled a little today."
In the seventh, Kunk's first pitch to Nate Owens was wild, sending Brunswick back out to bring in Greg Gilliland. Gilliland got Owens to look at strike three, then enticed pinch-hitter Damian Helm to ground to second before Rolsten flew out to Mitch Schoenherr to end the game.
"They've got a lot of heart," said Brunswick of Crestview. "They've got a lot of players who play the game the right way."
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