By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER — For the first six wins this season for Coldwater, the play could be summed up in six words:
Good pitching, good hitting, good defense.
Why should the seventh game be any different?
Steve Wenning struck out 10 Greenville batters and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning as the Cavaliers defeated the Green Wave 8-0 at Veterans Field on Tuesday. Coldwater improves to 7-0 on the season, already halfway to last season’s total of 14. Greenville falls to 1-4.
Wenning became the first Cavalier pitcher this season to fire a complete games, walking just two batters in throwing just 77 pitches — 50 going for strikes — over the seven innings. After the first batter of the game for Greenville reached base on an error — and was taken off first as part of an inning-ending double play, Wenning retired the next eight batters in order before giving up a walk in the fourth.
“That’s very efficient,” said Coldwater coach Brian Harlamert of Wenning’s effort as the senior improves to 3-0 with a save. “He’s solid. He comes in around the plate with a fastball, slider and slow curve. (Continued from page 1B)Right now, he’s in a groove. The whole team is in a groove right now.”
Coldwater needed to wait until two outs were gone in the bottom of the first to put the game away. After a pop out and groundout, Dusty Ahrens singled to left and hustled to second when the ball got past the leftfielder. Trent Gerlach stepped up and doubled his classmate home for the first win of the game. After walks to Ty Schwieterman and Brent Schwieterman, Matt Howell watched four pitches go by and headed to first and picked up the easy RBI when Gerlach trotted home.
Another run in the second set up a big inning in the fifth. With one away, Gerlach lofted a fly that carried over the fence in left-center to make the score 4-0. After another out, Brent Schwieterman walked to bring up Howell, who this time got the runner home the fun way with a towering homer to left to make the score 6-0.
Even the bench got into the scoring in the bottom of the sixth. Harlamert sent Kyle Schoenherr to hit in Ryan Gerlach’s spot to start the inning. Schoenherr made the most of his appearance, singling off starter Josh Morgan to bring up fellow pinch-hitter Brandon Bettinger. Bettinger chased Morgan with a liner up the middle that made the runner hit the dirt to put runners on first and second. Michel Werner came in from center to relieve Morgan and got the first out by striking out Geier. Ahrens followed with a walk and Trent Gerlach brought two runs home with his second double of the game before Werner got the Schwietermans to fly out to end the inning.
That was all that Wenning needed to use just seven pitches to end the game, getting Stephen Dumas to fly to center on the first pitch and then getting Michael Walker to pop to Geier at short on the next pitch., Lance Kindell worked the count to 2-2 before Wenning got him to swing at strike three to end the game.
The defense helped out Wenning with two double plays in the game.
“Their two guys hit the ball hard to our guys and they were ready to make the play,” said Harlamert. “Helps the pitcher out a bit.”
Coldwater collected 10 hits in the game. Trent Gerlach had three of them, all of them going for extra bases. Ryan Gerlach, Trent’s cousin, added two hits in two official at-bats.
“These are contact guys and guys who can run,” said Harlamert. “We beat out an infield single (Ryan Gerlach in the fourth), got the hit-and-run (off Trent Gerlach’s double in the first. The guys can run the field and have confidence in their ability. They’re seeing the ball very well.”
Coldwater will have some big challenges at the end of this week and through next week. Western Buckeye League powers Wapakoneta (Thursday) and Bath (Saturday doubleheader) come to Coldwater this week and the Midwest Athletic Conference schedule starts up next week with state runner-ups Minster coming to town.
“Greenville is a pretty good 1-4 team. They play a strong schedule,” said Harlamert. “We’ll see how it goes.”