Friday, July 6th, 2018
Cards edge Cats
By Gary R. Rasberry
New Bremen's Spencer Alig pitched 6 2/3 innings of two-hit baseball to lead the. . .
MINSTER - When New Bremen ACME baseball coach Brad Selby saw who was pitching for Minster on Thursday night, he knew fans at Hanover Street Park would see a pitchers' duel.
That's what the Cardinals' Spencer Alig and the Wildcats' Jack Heitbrink delivered as both pitchers traded zeros for most of the night.
The Cardinals, though, were able to take advantage of a Wildcat mistake and plated the only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. The run held up as New Bremen picked up the 1-0 win in the Auglaize-Shelby sectional tournament.
New Bremen (10-3) takes on Fort Loramie in the winner's bracket final tonight at 6 p.m. The Redskins beat Shelby County neighbor Houston 11-1 in the first game of the night. Minster will look to keep its season alive when it faces Houston in the second game around 8:15 p.m.
"We knew coming in it was a pitchers' duel," said coach Selby "Jack's a helluva pitcher who's pitched for them in state games. As soon as I saw the lineup, I told them it was going to be a battle. The team that makes the (fewest) mistakes (would win).
"Spence threw more pitches than I wanted him to, but he battled tonight," continued coach Selby. "He got ahead early, struggled late but battled back."
Neither pitcher breezed through innings. Alig only had two 1-2-3 innings on the night while Heitbrink had just one. Heitbrink walked six in allowing just one hit through six innings with six strikeouts.
"At one point, Alig had 10 ground ball outs, which is how you want your pitchers to start games," said Minster coach Mike Wiss. "After five innings, Jack had five groundouts and an error. Jack was going deep in his pitching count. Through four innings, Bremen had no at-bats with fewer than five pitches. (Heitbrink) battled. We made a couple nice plays in the outfield for him. He pitched well enough to win."
The Cardinals finally found their opening in the fourth after Heitbrink had retired the first two batters. Alig reached on an error to bring up sophomore-to-be Zach Bertke, who hammered the ball to the fence in right. Alig easily scored and Bertke slid into third with a triple.
"Can't say enough about Zach," coach Selby said."He's a gamer. He's going to be the real deal."
Heitbrink got out of more trouble in the fifth and made it through the fifth before being relieved by Trent Roetgerman in the sixth.
Alig was moving along in his game. Between the third and the sixth innings, only one Wildcat batter had reached second base. As the top of the seventh began, Alig got the first out when Adam Kenter grounded to short, but Noah Enneking reached on an error. A.J. Heitkamp followed with a walk to put two on for Mike Ketner. Alig got the strikeout of Mike Ketner and was immediately pulled for Mitchell Hays. Hays allowed a wild pitch to move the runners up 90 feet and with the count at 3-1, chose to send Jack Olberding to first to load the bases for pinch-hitter Alex Schmitmeyer. Hays made quick work of Schmitmeyer with the strikeout.
"We played good defense. Minster played good defense," coach Selby said. "Our hats off to (Minster). We'll see them again."
"We had a chance late (in the game)," Wiss said. "Hays came in and threw the ball well. Spencer didn't give us many opportunities, but when you get the few you get, you have to take advantage."