By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER -- Sam Slavik kept Elida scoreless for six innings as the Coldwater offense collected 12 hits to move to the winner's bracket final of the 2005 State ACME Tournament with a 6-2 win over the Bulldogs at Veterans Field in Coldwater.
Coldwater (25-8) plays Fairview on Wednesday at 8 p.m. for a berth in the championship game set for Saturday at noon. Elida (21-6) moves to the loser's bracket and will play Greenville on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Slavik used his curveball to stymie the Elida batters through the majority of the game. Through six innings, Slavik allowed just two hits and walked two. It was only in the seventh, when Slavik approached just 70 pitches, that the Bulldogs were able to score two runs off five hits. The rally, however, was halted when Cory Klenke made a great stop of a Travis Guisinger hit up the middle to start a 6-3 double play to end the game.
"We knew the low fuel light was on," said Coldwater coach Romie Schwieterman. "He was down to his last hitter, Troy Siefring would have come in next, but Troy hasn't thrown for a while. I told Sam to suck it up a bit. Fortunately, the ball was hit to the right spot for the double play.
"The wind was blowing out. (Slavik) throws that big overhand curve. With that wind in the face of a curveball pitcher, it makes it bite that much more. That big 12-to-6 curve is now like a quarter-to-12. It's almost Daylight Savings Time on that thing. He had given up just one earned run in the last 24 innings. Now its three in the last 31." Coldwater, in the heat of the day, kept up its speed, using seveal big infield hits to get runners on and around. In the first, Brady Geier got on with an infield hit. After back-to-back strikeouts from Elida starter Scott Harmon, Cody Muhlenkamp reached on an infield hit, allowing Geier, who went to third thanks to a stolen base and a passed ball, to score for the first run.
In the second, Klenke and Trevor Stromblad led off by reaching on back-to-back errors. Geier brought home Klenke with a single and after Tyler James walked to load the bases, Siefring was hit by a pitch to bring home the run that would put the team over the top.
"We did not play a good game," said Elida coach Mark Albright. "It was like we weren't mentally in the game. I don't think Scott pitched that bad of a game. A lot of infield hits -- they have a lot of speed. We made some mental mistakes and some errors.
"You can't get down to Coldwater like that and come back. ... They were just infield balls that were misplayed or in spots that made it difficult to make the play," continued Albright.
The Cavs got two more runs in the third and the final run came in the fourth. Of the 12 hits in the game, only Stromblad's fifth-inning double went for extra bases. Coldwater was also 6-of-8 in the stolen base deparment with Geier, James and Siefring swiping two each.
"Good team speed," said Schwieterman. "We've got seven of nine guys who can run -- I never say which seven because I don't want the other two to know who they are. We were hitting the ball on the ground and making them field it. It was great."
Coldwater 15, Anthony Wayne 7
The Coldwater offense was hot, just like the temperatures, on Saturday in the ACME state tournament opener.
The Cavaliers pounded out 14 hits and gave Kirby Timmerman plenty of run support to go on to a 15-7 victory.
After going down in order in the first inning, Coldwater erupted for five runs in the second and added another five runs in the third to take command of the game.
In the second inning, Klenke had an RBI double while Stromblad and James each had two-runs singles for the 5-0 advantage.
Anthony Wayne scored once in the second inning, but the Cavaliers came right back with five more runs in the third inning.
The Generals fell apart in the third inning hittting two Cavaliers with pitches, walking two and making two errors while Coldwater had just two hits for the five runs.
An RBI double by Steve Borger and an RBI single from Riley Muhlenkamp plated two more runs in the fourth inning for Coldwater while two errors accounted for the Cavaliers' two runs in the sixth inning.
The bottom of the order paced the Cavaliers as the sixth-through-nine hitters went a combined 6-for-10 with nine runs scored and seven RBI.
Borger had three hits to pace Coldwater's offense while Geier, Klenke and Stromblad each collected two hits.
Timmerman got the win on the hill throwing the first four innings allowing four runs (two earned) while Borger came on to polish off the final three innings of play.