By Gary R. Rasberry
MINSTER -- The Grand Lake area is assured of at least one team making it to the championship game of the District 4 ACME baseball tournament this Sunday.
All four area teams won their tournament openers on Sunday at Hanover Street Park in Minster.
The wins ranged from Coldwater's 3-0 pitcher's duel victory over Van Wert to St. Marys' 16-0 pasting of Fort Loramie in the nightcap.
The host Wildcats opened the day with a 9-3 win over Anna while St. Henry rebounded from losing two games and the Mercer County sectional title on Thursday with a 7-4 win over Van Wert County sectional champ Crestview.
All four teams are off until Wednesday when Minster hosts the winners bracket semifinals. Minster and St. Henry will square off in the first game at 6 p.m. with Coldwater and St. Marys playing in the other matchup at approximately 8:15 p.m. The four losing teams from Sunday will play tonight in elimination games. Anna will play Van Wert at 6 p.m. with Crestview and Fort Loramie playing in the nightcap.
Coldwater 3, Van Wert 0
When it comes to big games, Sam Slavik is, in the words of coach Romie Schwieterman, like an ATM -- money in the bank.
The lanky righthander struck out 11 batters and scattered two hits while posting his third shutout in his last three starts.
"Sometimes when Sam is out there, you can almost sit in a lawnchair in between innings," said Schwieterman. "He continually paints a masterpiece. Without giving him a big head, he's money in the bank, an ATM machine."
With Slavik mowing the Cougars down, Van Wert starter Kyle Klinker was hurling a fine game on the other side for the Cougars. Klinker did walk five in the game, but was not snake bit much by the free bases.
"Klinker pitched a good ballgame," said Schwieterman. "He had a little control trouble early and we told the kids to make him throw you a couple."
Coldwater got all the runs it needed in the second. Keith Schoenherr and Slavik walked to start the inning. Kyle Ahrens grounded in front of the plate and Schoenherr was thrown out at third, but Brad Brunswick followed with a single to score Slavik. Justin Goubeaux walked to load the bases for Tyler James, who drew a walk to bring in Ahrens making it 2-0.
The Cavaliers added their final run in the sixth. Tony Harlamert led off with a single, went to second when Klenke reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball.
"You don't want to get that first loss and go to that first losers bracket game," said Schwieterman. "Now we can get to rest til Wednesday."
St. Henry 7, Crestview 4
After losing two games on Thursday to lose the Mercer County sectional championship, the Redskins looked to rebound against a Knights squad that posted a 15-2 record on the summer.
The Redskins got the game started with a bang as Kyle Bruggeman took a Scott Eickholt 1-1 offering over the short porch in rightfield for a grand slam to make the score 4-0.
"Kyle's been struggling this summer," said St. Henry coach Joe Wourms. "He did well for us in the spring. It's nice he was able to do (hit the grand slam). He needed that. Hopefully he'll keep hitting like that for the rest of the summer."
The Knights showed signs of making it a slugfest as Matt Myers took a Jay Woeste pitch over the fence in left with a man aboard to cut the lead in half.
From there, though, Woeste kept the Knights from getting any closer allowing one more run in the sixth and another in the seventh before getting the eight-hit, three-walk win.
"That's Jay's game: damage control," said Wourms. "He'll give up a few hits, a couple runs, but he always keeps you in the ballgame. He always gives you a chance."
St. Henry got needed insurance in the third. Woeste led off with a double. After a walk to Bruggeman, A.J. Kremer doubled in Woeste to make it 5-2. Ryan Vogel followed with a squeeze bunt single to score Bruggeman while Nick Bruns singled in Kremer to round out the Redskin scoring.
Minster 9, Anna 3
The host Wildcats used a four-run fifth inning to put the game away against the Rockets, which had just nine players available for the game.
Bob Inskeep kept Anna scoreless for the first four innings before the Rockets finally were able to take advantage of Inskeep's control problems. Inskeep walked three batters in the inning, the final one allowing a run to score to make it 5-3. Jimmy Stechschulte came in and got the final out of the inning, then threw the final two innings, allowing just one walk to get the save.
Minster came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of three Anna errors.
Zac Boeke was the big hitter for the Wildcats, blasting a bases-loaded double in the second inning that raised the early Minster lead to 4-3.
St. Marys 16, Fort Loramie 0 (5 innings)
The last game of the night proved to be the most explosive game of the four-game day.
St. Marys, which started the season 0-10 before winning eight of its next 10 games, blew the game wide open with a second inning that one had to see to believe.
The Roughriders send 14 batters to the plate with two players -- Sam Rammel and Justin Bruns -- scoring twice in the inning. St. Marys scored 10 times on just six hits off of Loramie starter Kyle Turner. Only one of the runs was earned, thanks to five errors in the inning by the Redskins defense.
Rammel had two hits in the inning, including a double, and plated three runs while Mitch Dunlap also had a two-run single in the inning.
That was more than enough for Roughrider starter Korey Hullinger as the southpaw scattered three hits and two walks over four innings to get the win. Tyler Norton came on in the fifth, walked the first batter, then struck out the next three to end the game.
St. Marys had another long rally in the top of the fifth to put the game even more out of reach. With the Roughrider coaches making wholesale changes on defense in the bottom of the inning, the first-time batters made the most of their work. Russ Sweeney and Brad Frazier each had doubles as St. Marys sent nine to the plate with six more runs coming home.
Rammel went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI while Hullinger added a 3-for-4 game with two doubles.