Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Pitching showcase

Minster, New Bremen ride stellar starts to district final

By Tom Haines
Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

New Bremen shortstop Olivia Thornton tags out Ada's Jenna Bassitt trying to steal second base to end the fourth inning.

WAPAKONETA - Minster and New Bremen both leaned on their ace pitchers to set up a Midwest Athletic Conference rematch in the Division IV district final.

The Cardinals just had to withstand a little more drama.

New Bremen answered Ada's two-run sixth with a sacrifice fly in the seventh to score the winning run behind Alayna Ross, beating the Bulldogs 3-2 in the second district semifinal on Monday at Wapakoneta's Mercy Health Field.

In the opener, Minster's Brooklyn Osterloh no-hit Lima Central Catholic as the No. 1 Wildcats took care of business with a 10-0, six-inning win.

Now the two teams will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday for a trip to the regionals. Minster's last district title came in 2019, when the Wildcats went to the regional final. New Bremen hopes to end an eight-year drought and avenge a 15-4 MAC loss from April 30.

"We need to play solid defense and we need to be able to put the ball in play," New Bremen coach Gary Moeder said. "They're not going to give us very many opportunities, because they are a sound, sound ball club both offensively and defensively."

New Bremen 3, Ada 2

The first five innings were a duel between Ross and Ada's Jenna Bassitt. Bassitt retired the first eight batters before an error put Abby Homan on base, then stranded runners on second in the fourth and fifth to keep the game scoreless.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

New Bremen's Alayna Ross pitches against Ada in the Division IV district semifinals at Wapakoneta's Mercy Health Field on Monday.

Ross was even better, striking out 10 of the first 12 batters. One grounded back to the circle, and Bassitt was hit by a pitch and then caught trying for second on a strikeout-throwout double play.

"Pretty amazing young lady," Moeder said of his star pitcher. "She works really hard at it, and I'm really glad I've got her this year. I've had her for four years now, so it's going to be really hard to replace her when she leaves."

Both teams broke through in the sixth. Bassitt threw wide of first base on a bunt to put Adriana Heitkamp on, then walked Ross on four pitches to give the Cardinals two runners with no outs.

She got Mackenzie Bornhorst to pop out and struck out Alivia Dammeyer, but Lydia Bushman ripped a triple over the head of centerfielder Tess Griffith to score both runs.

Bassitt stranded two more runners with a strikeout, and the Bulldogs wasted no time in the bottom half. Katie Sizemore took ball four for a leadoff walk, and designated player Daicy Robinson hit a spinning line drive that dropped behind Ross and died on the infield dirt for Ada's first hit.

Ross then hit Alainee Buxton with a pitch to load the bases. She speared a grounder back to the circle and threw to home from her knees to save a run, but then Aidra Preston laced a single to centerfield to tie the game.

The Bulldogs still had runners on second and third with no outs, but Ross froze Griffith for a full-count strikeout and got Karley Wagner to chase strike three to end the inning and keep the game tied.

"I always tell the girls, 'Never give up,' " Moeder said. "You're always in it. When something goes wrong, you've got to put it on the back burner.

"Luckily, we did that and settled down in the sixth inning after they scored the two runs."

Homan led off the second with a walk and reached second safely on a failed fielder's choice as Wagner slipped trying to reverse direction. Ross walked on four pitches again, loading the bases, and Bornhorst lofted a fly ball to centerfield deep enough for Homan to tag up and sprint home.

Ross made sure the outcome wasn't in doubt from there, setting the Bulldogs down in order. Shortstop Olivia Thornton did her part as well, making an over-the shoulder catch on a pop fly.

Ross finished with 15 strikeouts, allowing two earned runs on two hits, a walk and two hit-by-pitches over seven innings.

Minster 10, Lima Central Catholic 0

The Wildcats left runners in scoring position the first two innings before getting on the board in the third.

From there, they never stopped hitting.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Minster centerfielder Rylin Trego tracks down a fly ball by Lima Central Catholic's Carolina Kill in the first inning.

After Rylin Trego legged out a one-out triple down the left field line, Addi Inskeep hit a sacrifice fly to score her from third.

In the fourth, Emma Linn worked a walk and Hailee Albers slammed a home run over the 220-foot sign in left-center field. Another run scored on an error, and then Trego hit a pop fly to right field that dropped in between the right fielder and second baseman for an RBI double to make it 5-0.

"This was just our second time playing in 11 days," Minster coach Robb Hemmelgarn said. "I think we had a lot of rust to shake off."

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Minster's Brooklyn Osterloh threw a six-inning no-hitter with 11 strikeouts on Monday.

Meanwhile, Osterloh was unbeatable.

After a first-inning walk, she struck out the next six batters, recording an immaculate inning in the second. She didn't allow another baserunner the rest of the game and finished with 11 strikeouts.

"She knows her role in the tournament," Hemmelgarn said. "We've got a good partnership there with her and Mikaela (Hoskins). She's getting more innings and more confidence. I think that's the big thing."

Hannah Oldiges tacked on two more runs on a homer down the left field line in the fifth before the Wildcats closed it out in the sixth.

Alayna Prenger led off with a walk and Reece Albers swatted a triple into left-center. Inskeep hit a grounder to score her from third, but reached safely when the throw went wide.

Hoskins then hit a line drive just fair down the right field line to move Inskeep to third. LCC pitcher Emma Skinner missed her first two pitches to Oldiges, and the second got past the catcher as Inskeep raced home.

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"She's a good pitcher," Hemmelgarn said. "She did keep us off-balance. We had some girls swinging late, some swinging early. Once we got through the order two times, I think we settled in."

Hoskins and Trego each had two hits.

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