State Baseball Day I Revisited

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State Baseball Tournament

Plenty of theatrics highlighted day one of the 2011 State Baseball
Tournament at lovely Huntington Park in downtown Columbus. A walk-off,
three-run double doomed Willoughby South. Dominant pitching continued
for Lakota East. And no MAC showdown as Delphos St. John’s bounced out
by buzz saw. But a diabolical and meniacal fifth inning saved Minster.


Plenty of theatrics highlighted day one of the 2011 State Baseball Tournament at lovely Huntington Park in downtown Columbus. A walk-off, three-run double doomed Willoughby South. Dominant pitching continued for Lakota East. And no MAC showdown as Delphos St. John’s bounced out by buzz saw. But a diabolical and meniacal fifth inning saved Minster.
 
Matt Garbig stroked a walk-off, three-run double to lift Perrysburg to an improbable 4-3 win over Willoughby South in D-I semifinal action.
 
It was Garbig’s only hit of the game, but a memorable one. Trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Perrysburg rallied to score three runs on two hits. After one out, pinch-hitter Matt Slocum walked. Pinch-hitter Mark Delas doubled to centerfield, advancing pinch-runner Kevin Schenk to third. Alec Schmenk intentionally walked to load the bases. Quite a duo: Schenk and Schmenk. Then, Garbig hit the game winner on a 1-0 count to right centerfield.
 
It was a jagged start for starting pitcher Schmenk, but once he found his groove, the big righty hurled a gem the final five innings, allowing just one hit. In all, he went the distance with nine strikeouts and boasts a 9-0 record.
 
Perrysburg cut the lead 3-1 in the fourth inning on a home run blast by DH Hunter Smith.
 
Perrysburg (26-3) advances to Saturday’s championship game versus Lakota East (23-7) at 10 AM.
 
In the second D-I semifinal contest, Lakota East defeated Grove City 7-2 to end the Greyhounds cinderella tournament run. Grove City finished third in the OCC regular season standings.
 
Left-handed pitcher Mike Conrad went the distance, allowing two runs on six scattered hits with a pitch count of 118. That’s a plethora of throws for a high school kid in seven innings.
 
Jesse Rait played long ball for Lakota with a double in the fifth and a two-run homer in the sixth. He went 2-for-3 on the day scoring two runs with two RBIs.
 
The Thunder Hawks’ pitching has been sensational during the tournament, allowing just three runs in five games. Impressive considering the teams: Sycamore, Northmont, Centerville, Vandalia Butler, and Grove City.
 
Making their first state appearance, Lakota East looking to make school history Saturday morning.
 
New Middletown Springfield pounded 10 hits to post a 9-2 victory over Delphos St. John’s in the first D-IV semifinal game and ruined any chance of a MAC showdown in the championship game on Saturday.
 
The Tigers scored early and often with three runs in the first, fourth, and fifth innings.
 
It was the pitcher-catcher battery of Nick Russell and Ronnie Bovo providing the offense. Bovo went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Russell helped his cause hitting 2-for-4 with a lone RBI.
 
On the mound, Russell was equally dominant, throwing a complete game and allowing two runs on six scattered hits with six strikeouts. He needed 90 pitches to get the job done and improve to 8-0.
 
Jordan Leininger closed out a brilliant athletic career at DSJ going 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI.
 
Springfield (19-6) advances to Saturday’s championship game.
 
Minster being Minster. Once again, the Wildcats found a way to win. This time, however, it was Newark Catholic finding a way to lose.
 
Minster shocked the second ranked Green Wave, the Yankees of high school baseball with 12 state appearances, three runner-ups, and six state titles, 6-5 in a wild and wicked matchup in the second D-IV semi-final game.
 
Newark Catholic led 4-1 after four innings and looked in command. So did pitcher Jimmy Lough, allowing just one run on two hits with six strikeouts.
 
It was the start of another routine inning for Lough. He fanned Ben Heitbrink and then Brett Meiring grounded out to second base for the second out.
 
 As the drama unfurled, so did Newark Catholic. Ryan Hoying singled after first baseman Nate Taylor dropped a foul ball, which would have ended the inning. Devon Poeppelman reached first on a throwing error by ss James Thomas. Hoying advanced to second. Chase Paxson singled to left and advanced to second on a fielding error by Hunter Nance, scoring Hoying and D. Poeppelman. Adam Niemeyer reached first on a fielding error by James Thomas and Paxson advanced to third. Craig Purpus singled to shortstop, scoring Paxson and advancing Niemeyer to second. Then Mitch Poeppelman doubled deep to centerfield, driving home Purpus and Niemeyer.
 
Newark Catholic committed four errors in the fifth, resulting in five runs on four hits.
 
It was pitching by committee for Minster. Doug Huber pitched 3 2/3 solid innings. Austin Knapke entered in relief, going 2 1/3 innings, before ace Niemeyer retired the side in the seventh with two strikeouts for the save. Niemeyer will be the likely starter in the title game as Minster guns for first-ever baseball crown and the school’s 26th overall. Ironically, Newark Catholic has 25 school titles, but have to wait for #26.

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