By Mark Ruschau
MINSTER -- The Fort Recovery Indians and the Marion Local Flyers both used fine pitching performances and timely offense to post victories Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the Division IV sectional baseball tournament at Hanover Park.
The Indians used a big two-out first inning on offense and some crafty pitching by senior C.J. Tobe to defeat the New Knoxville Rangers, 11-2. The Flyers got an overpowering pitching performance by senior Cory Luebke and timely hitting up and down the lineup to run rule the Waynesfield Goshen Tigers, 14-0.
Fort Recovery now 7-10 on the season will move to the second round of the sectional Saturday against the second-seeded Minster Wildcats at noon. Marion Local, now 9-6 on the campaign, will battle top-seeded New Bremen also on Saturday at approximately 2:30.
New Knoxville-Fort Recovery Tobe wasn't exactly overpowering in his performance against the Rangers, but got great defensive support from his teammates to turn in the complete-game win.
Tobe allowed eight hits and two runs in the win while walking just two and striking out one.
"C.J. has been a senior leader on this team all year long and he showed it again today," said Fort Recovery coach Aaron Vaughn. "He does not have the best stuff or the best ERA, but he pitches smart and keeps hitters off-balance.
"Our defense has been pretty solid all year," continued Vaughn. "The bottom line today was we did a good job of doing the little things, getting clutch hitting, good pitching and solid defense and I'm happy to see that happen."
The Indians jumped on Derreck Dillon for a pair of two-out runs in the opening inning. Greg Faller tripled with two outs and scored when Dusty Guggenbiller singled. Guggenbiller stole second and scored on a double by Nick Wehrkamp.
"Those two-out hits in the first inning were big," said Vaughn. "First Greg triples and then Guggenbiller follows with a hit and then Nick keeps it going with that double. We talked how important it was to get up early and we responded today."
The Indians added two more runs with two outs in the third. Faller singled and Guggenbiller was hit by a pitch. Wehrkamp singled in a run with Guggenbiller moving to third. Guggenbiller scored on a wild pitch.
Fort Recovery blew the game open with a seven-run fourth inning to take an 11-0 lead. Tobe and Guggenbiller each had two-run singles and Wehrkamp had a two-run double to highlight the inning.
Marion Local-Waynesfield Goshen
Luebke was in complete control of the game from the beginning as he struck out the side in the first inning on a total of nine pitches, all strikes.
In all, Luebke recorded 15 strikeouts in the five-inning game.
Waynesfield had just two baserunners all day, a walk in the second and base hit by Cody Sackinger in the fourth.
"You can't ask for anything more than Cory gave us today," said Marion Local coach Chad Wells. "He gave us another outstanding performance and you have to tip your hat to him.
"Cory has great velocity but the key to his success is that he moves the ball around so well," continued Wells. "He also has a great curve and he just goes out there and battles and does a great job of making them hit our pitch."
Marion scored a run in the first inning on a one-out walk to Adam Kremer, who stole second and third and scored on a Luebke sacrifice fly.
The Flyers added two more runs with two outs in the second. Andy Kuether was hit by a pitch, John Alexander had an infield hit and Troy Luebke reached on an error to load the bases. After Joe Kemper lined hard into a double play, Mitch Thobe came up with the a big two-out, two-run single to make the score 3-0.
The Flyers sent 14 men to plate and scored nine times in the third to blow the game open. In the inning the Flyers had eight hits and took advantage of three walks, and three Waynesfield errors.
Eric Schroeder had a huge third inning as he had an RBI single and capped the inning with a towering three-run homer to left.
"We have been struggling putting the ball in play earlier in the year and I think it was a lack of a true preseason," said Wells. "The guys did a nice job of putting the ball in play today and they are finally realizing that even if they don't put the ball in play hard that they put it in play that good things are going to happen."