Friday, May 16th, 2014
By Dave Stilwell
Roughriders advance to district
Division II Sectional Baseball
  ST. MARYS - Sophomore Nathan Wilker pitched a complete game three-hitter to lift St. Marys to a 9-1 Division II sectional victory over Elida Thursday evening at K.C. Geiger Park.
Now 19-5 on the season, St. Marys advances to the district semifinals next Thursday in Bluffton for a 2 p.m. game against Bath. The Wildcats advanced with a 2-0 victory over Kenton Thursday at Bath.   Elida finishes its season with an 11-17 record.
"I thought Nathan threw pretty well tonight considering the cold weather," St. Marys coach Jeff Dieringer said. "He threw more pitches than we wanted him to, going deep in the pitch counts, but he battled well."
Wilker struck out eight and walked three. Elida's only run was unearned.
It was senior Zack Wilker providing the offensive punch for the Roughriders as he collected three hits, three RBI and scored three times.
The Roughriders beat Bath 3-2 in a nine-inning thriller during the Western Buckeye League season back on May 5.
Two St. Marys errors and a RBI single by Elida's Max Stambaugh gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The 'Riders tied the game in the bottom of the second when Zack Wilker led off with a single, advanced to third on an infield hit and then scored on a passed ball.
St. Marys plated three runs in the bottom of the third and never looked back. The big hit in the inning was a two-run double by Nathan Vogel over the right fielder's head.
A two-run single by Colin Burke in the fifth inning put St. Marys up 7-1, and the Riders added wo insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, thanks in big part to three Elida errors.
Elida managed just two infield singles off Wilker over the final six innings.
Adam Purdy, who was impressive in Elida's 6-1 win over Shawnee in the sectional semifinals, went six innings on the hill, giving up nine hits and seven runs. He struck out two and walked two.
Josh Bull went the final inning for Elida.
Besides Zack Wilker, Vogel carried a big stick for the Riders as he collected three hits and drove in two.
The start of Thursday's game was delayed until 7 p.m. to give the field a chance to dry out from early morning rains. But even with the late start and the cold weather, a nice crowd turned out for the Roughriders' first ever home Sectional game.
"I think this is fantastic," Dieringer said of the new Northwest district baseball tournament format which allows higher seeded teams to host sectional games. "I feel like people in this town want to get excited about something sports-wise and we're happy to play a part in that."
Officially, St. Marys is not scheduled to play again until next Thursday; however, Dieringer said the 'Riders may try and pick up a game against another team still alive in the tournament prior to that.
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