Tuesday, May 30th, 2017
Next stop for 'Cats: Columbus
Minster beats Leipsic 3-1 for first regional championship since 2012
By Gary R. Rasberry
Minster catcher Ben Stubbs prepares to tag Leipsic's Wes Garcia during the sixth. . .
HAMLER - Minster scored all the runs it needed in the bottom of the first inning and then spent the next six innings fending off every Leipsic attempt to stage a comeback.
The Wildcats held tough and captured their first Division IV regional championship since 2012 in beating the Vikings 3-1 at Parratt Field at Patrick Henry High School on Saturday afternoon.
Minster (23-7), winners of 16 of their last 18, travel to Huntington Park in Columbus on Friday to face at 10 a.m. the Red Knights of Toronto, who are making their first trip to the state semifinals in 19 years after having beaten Waterford 11-1 in five innings at the Lancaster regional.
"This is the seventh straight year the Coldwater district winner has gone to state," Minster coach Mike Wiss said, referring to Minster in 2011 and 2012, Crestview in 2013 and 2014 and Fort Recovery the past two seasons. "It speaks volumes to our schedule.
"The confidence, you can see, is booming."
The Wildcats got the scoring going when Isaac Schmiesing was hit by a Dylan Schroeder pitch to start the bottom of the first. Jon Niemeyer followed with a single to put runners on the corner for Alex Lehmkuhl, who doubled deep to left, scoring Schmiesing. Ben Stubbs followed with a bases-clearing double to make it 3-0
After the first inning, Schroeder settled down and held Minster to just one hit and two walks over the final five at-bats.
"From innings two through seven, Schroeder had us off-balanced," Wiss said. "The first inning, we hit the ball hard. He settled down a bit and started to throw a few off-speed pitches on fastball counts. He's not 7-1 with a 1.6 (ERA) for no reason. That's who you're going to face (from) here on out."
Minster pitcher Jack Heitbrink allowed two hits in the top of the first inning and then retired 10 straight before walking Robbie Laubenthal and Jordan Berger back to back with two outs in the fourth. The Wildcats got out of the jam when Devin Hiegel grounded into a forceout at second.
In the fifth inning, Leipsic loaded the bases thanks to a single, a walk and an error before Grant Rader grounded to Adam Knapke, who touched third base to get the force out to end the inning.
"Jack had a nice start," Wiss said. "He got out of some trouble in the fifth."
Isaac Dorsten came on to finish the game in the sixh and was greeted by a single and an error to put runners on the corners for Drew Hiegel. Hiegel lined the ball off Dorsten's glove as pinch-runner Wes Garcia came home. Dorsten reacted quickly, fielding the ball and throwing home to Stubbs, who applied the tag for the out. Dorsten got out of additional trouble with a flyout and strikeout to end the inning.
In the seventh, Cole Rieman led off with a walk. Two groundouts moved the runner to third. Rader then singled home the run to break up the shutout. Dorsten followed by getting Garcia to ground out to third to end the game and send the Wildcats home to prepare for a trip to Columbus.
"Defensively and pitching-wise, we did what we needed to do," Wiss said. "Up there (at the plate), when we ran (New London pitcher) Ryan Lane out of the game (after 5 1/3 innings on Friday), I thought we got complacent in the last inning and a half. Some of that complacency came over (Saturday). That's high school kids."