By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER -- Some surprises made up day two of the 2005 Mercer County ACME sectional tournament on Sunday at Veterans Field in Coldwater.
Top-seeded Parkway suffered a setback as Marion Local scored four times in the bottom of the sixth to win 8-4. Second-seed Coldwater took a 7-0 win over Fort Recovery in the second game. The Flyers and Cavaliers play in the winner's bracket final on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for one of the two automatic berths at the district tournament.
Fort Recovery plays St. Henry in the elimination round tonight at 6 p.m. while Parkway will battle Celina in the other eliminator at 8:30 p.m.
St. Henry and Celina both suffered tough first-round losses on Saturday. The Redskins ran into a strong pitching performance from Troy Luebke in a 5-1 loss. Celina was roughed up for a 13-3 run-rule loss by Fort Recovery, giving up 11 hits in five innings.
Marion Local 8, Parkway 4
Things started out rough for the Panthers when starting pitcher Tyler Brickley was ejected at the end of the first for not sliding into home, barreling into Marion catcher Curtis Moeller while trying to score on Rikki Covarrubias' single. Brickley is automatically suspended for the next two games for the ejection.
Trevor Krogman came on in the second in relief and held Marion to two runs though four innings, allowing Parkway to maintain a 3-2 lead through the top of the fourth.
Marion began its rally in the bottom of the fourth, scoring twice to tie the game at 4-all, after Parkway scored once in the top of the frame. Chris Wenning hit a solo home run off the light pole in left to cut Parkway's lead to 4-3. Troy Luebke followed up by reaching on an error before Curtis Moeller singled to put runners on first and second for Jake Heitkamp. Heitkamp grounded to Parkway first baseman Jensen Painter, who tried to force out Moeller at second but the ball went into the outfield, allowing Luebke to score to make it 4-4.
The Flyers, who were swept by the Panthers during the summer round-robin, got to Krogman in the sixth. Jordan Moeller led off with a single and went to third on Chris Stucke's double. Mitch Thobe singled to score Moeller and the relay throw home was off the mark, allowing Stucke to score. Luebke singled and Curtis Moeller walked. Luebke made it to third and scored on a wild pitch from reliever Zach Caffee.
Kurt Homan, who came on to pitch the bottom of the fifth in relief of Thobe, threw two innings of one-hit baseball to earn the win and put the Flyers a step closer to the first district trip in many years.
"I can't say enough about this team," said Flyer coach Craig Wolters. "We struggled early in the year, but we came back."
"Marion has been playing good ball now," said Panther skipper Mike Moorman. "They're hot right now and now's the time to get hot. Trevor came in and did a good job. That play with Tyler, he had to make an attempt to slide and he was being aggressive. That really hurt us."
Moorman knows things get tougher, as Parkway will need to win three times in three days starting tonight to get a berth in the district tourney.
"We'll find out what kind of team we are," said Moorman. "We'll see if we can win three in a row and get back on our feet."
Wenning and Thobe each went 2-for-4 for Marion, with Thobe getting three RBI.
Coldwater 7, Fort Recovery 0
Things were much easier for the Cavaliers, thanks to Sam Slavik and Adam Timmerman.
Slavik pitched six innings of three-hit baseball against the Indians, and Timmerman struck out two in a perfect seventh to keep the Cavaliers in the winner's bracket.
"They both threw a ton of strikes," said Coldwater coach Romie Schwieterman. "Whole bunch of first-pitch strikes. (Slavik) was getting his curve ball over. He pitched great ball."
Coldwater, having seen what the Indians could do on offense the day before against Celina, wasted no time, starting the game with three straight hits and scoring three runs in the inning. Troy Siefring started his day right with a two-run single to score Brady Geier and Tyler James. Siefring later stole two bases and scored on a wild pitch, all part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate with three stolen bases. The Cavaliers ran themselves ragged, going 9-for-10 in stolen base chances on the day.
"There's been a couple of surprises in the tournament, and these guys (Fort Recovery), knocked us off earlier in the season," said Schwieterman. "I think that stuck in (the Coldwater players') craw a bit. I was hoping they came out with a little fire in their eyes, and they did."
The Indians, who pounded the ball in the Saturday win over Celina, had trouble getting hits, collecting just three with Kevin Schoenherr getting two of the hits. Slavik allowed no baserunner to reach second safely on the day, striking out five and walking three.
Timmerman came in to pitch the seventh and sandwiched a flyout between two strikeouts to give Coldwater the win.
Brady Geier went 3-for-4 on the day with two steals and Steve Borger added two doubles.
Marion Local 5, St. Henry 1
Luebke scattered three hits over seven innings as the Flyers took advantage of four Redskin errors to move on in the winner's bracket.
The lone run Luebke gave up was an unearned one in the first inning when Mike Gast, who walked and moved up on a Jon Clune single, went to third on a passed ball. Curtis Moeller tried to get Gast at third, but the throw went into leftfield, allowing Gast to score.
After that, Luebke held the Redskins to just two hits, striking out five along the way.
"He threw strikes when he needed them," said Wolters. "He had confidence in the defense. The first inning we had that error, but they kept their heads, kept their composure and made the plays."
Marion tied the game in the bottom of the first with an unearned run, then took the lead for good in the second when Chris Stucke's groundout scored Kurt Homan.
Insurance came in the third when the Flyers plated two. Curtis Moeller grounder to second allowed Chris Wenning to score. Moeller later scored on Mark Otte's single to make it 4-1. The final run for the Flyers came in the sixth when Mitch Thobe scored on a error at shortstop off Chris Wenning's grounder..
"There's no excuses for the way we fielded the ball," said St. Henry coach Joe Wourms. "The guys are better than that. Being a tournament game, we've got to come ready to play and be able to make the plays. We didn't do that today."
Fort Recovery 13, Celina 3 (5 innings)
A close game after the first inning was taken over by the Indians in the second, scoring five runs and chasing Celina starter Nick Gray, who recently threw a no-hitter, from the mound after just 1 1/3 innings. Steve Trobridge and Tony Diller came up with the big hits in the inning, each hitting two-run doubles.
Meanwhile, Tribe starter Brad Fortkamp settled down after giving up two unearned runs in the first, scattering two more hits -- back-to-back doubles by Jordan Heuker and Darren Fleck in the third when Celina scored its final run of the game -- over the last four innings, retiring the last seven batters he faced.
The blowout concluded in the bottom of the fifth as Fort Recovery batted around for the second time in the game with 10 Indians going to the plate and collecting seven runs. Clint Tobe had a two-run single and pinch-hitter Kenton Sudhoff, who walked in his first at-bat in the inning, ended the game with a single to score Trobridge off reliever Andy Sell, who relieved Joe Clouse in the inning and allowed five runs in just 2/3 innings.