By Gary R. Rasberry
NEW BREMEN -- Even though their tournament runs have ended, both St. Henry and New Bremen still had reasons to play.
New Bremen was looking to clinch at least a share of the Midwest Athletic Conference title on Thursday as the Redskins came to Auglaize County. St. Henry wanted to salvage its tough season by playing the role of the spoiler.
By the time the rainy game ended, it was the Cardinals getting their way, beating the Redskins 8-0.
The win puts New Bremen (13-6) at 5-1 in conference play, clinching a share of the league title for the second time in three seasons. A win on Monday against Versailles would give the Cardinals the title outright since Fort Recovery has two losses in the league. St. Henry ends the MAC season at 1-6 and drops to 8-13 overall.
The win was something that Cardinal coach Craig Griesdorn was happy to see, a night after the Cardinals were eliminated from the tournament by Marion Local. New Bremen had trouble getting on base Wednesday against Marion ace Dana Hartings.
The opposite was true on Thursday as New Bremen scored three times off Kendra Buschur in its first at-bat. Casey Hamilton led off by getting hit by a pitch and later scored on an Ashley Egbert single. A single by Kelli Steineman put runners on the corner as coach Griesdorn called for the delayed steal with Elly Cisco up. Steineman made it to second easily and the catcher's throw went into centerfield, allowing Egbert to score. Steineman later scored on a Toni Goodwin single.
"We hit the ball and we scored early," said coach Griesdorn. "That was big and it was important. ... They were playing a little more relaxed for some unknown reason. They get into tournament, they're nervous."
The Redskins didn't do themselves any favors by having trouble making plays on defense as St. Henry was charged with six errors in the game.
"That's the story of our season, right there in a nutshell," said St. Henry coach Josh Link. "Don't take anything away from (New Bremen). They played good defense (not making an error) and hit the ball. I hate to sound like a broken record, but we have to make the plays."
That was all that Maria Staton needed. The freshman, who started the year on the junior varsity, had a streak of seven straight retired and did not let a Redskin get to second base safely. Staton, who improved to 3-1 on the season, struck out seven and walked one while allowing two harmless singles.
"Maria pitched a fine game," said coach Griesdorn. "That's why we made the move. She started the season with the jayvees to get her a taste of it and see how she did down there. She did fine since she's been up with us."
"Staton pitched well," said Link. "We just never really stung the ball."
The Cardinals picked up two more runs in the third and fifth innings and closed the door in the sixth with a run.
New Bremen had two hits each from Steineman, Goodwin and Audrey Micheal.
The Cardinals have a newly scheduled game with Celina on Saturday. St. Henry wraps up its season on Saturday with a home doubleheader against Fort Loramie.