Monday, July 8th, 2024

Up to the challenge

Minster beats Fort Loramie twice to win ACME district title

By Gary R. Rasberry
Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster's Rylan Edwards crosses home plate as Fort Loramie catcher Dylan Meyer watches during the first game of the ACME District 4 championship game at Celina's Montgomery Field. Edwards went 7-for-8 in the two championship games to help Minster rally to win and advance to the state tournament this upcoming weekend in Coldwater.

CELINA - It was an interesting challenge for Minster: win two straight games over Fort Loramie, a team the Wildcats had already played three times in the last week.

The Wildcats were up for the challenge, beating Fort Loramie 4-1 in the ACME District 4 championship game to force a second title game. Loramie scored two runs in the first inning of the winner-take-all, only for Minster to roar back with nine runs in the second inning en route to beating the Redskins 17-3 in five innings to capture the district title on Sunday at Montgomery Field.

Minster now heads to the state tournament in Coldwater on Saturday, with District 2 champion Kalida the opponent at 11 a.m. at Veterans Field.

"I think they're excited," said Minster coach Jay Eilerman. "They's a good team. We'll see where they can go."

Championship game was made extremely important after Minster beat Coldwater 9-2 in the loser's bracket final. Coldwater was already locked into a state spot as the host. With the Cavaliers eliminated from district, that meant Minster would have to beat Fort Loramie twice to advance with the Redskins needing to just win once.

Minster, which beat Fort Loramie in the Auglaize-Shelby sectional winner's bracket final last Sunday before Loramie won the sectional final on Monday, then beat Minster 1-0 on Saturday to advance to the championship game, scored first in the second inning of the first game, only to have Loramie tie it in the third inning.

Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster's Andrew Ketner slides home during the first game of the ACME District 4 championship at Montgomery Field in Celina.

The Wildcats took the lead for good in the fourth as Rylan Edwards doubled. Two outs later Andrew Ketner doubled home Edwards to break the tie, then Caleb Couse singled home Ketner to make it 3-1. Minster added a cushion run in the top of the seventh when Edwards completed a 4-for-4 game with a single that scored James Niemeyer.

Connor Schmiesing, who threw 43 pitches in Friday's 12-inning win over Coldwater, came back with a 68-pitch effort to help a Wildcat team that was light on arms. Schmiesing scattered five hits, walked three and struck out two as Fort Loramie did not have a runner get to second from the fourth inning onward.

"What can you say about him? He had a good game," said Eilerman of Schmiesing. "He was hitting his spots. He did what he needed to do."

Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster's Connor Schmiesing pitched a complete game victory to force a second ACME District 4 championship game, then started the second game to spark the Wildcats to the title.

The second game was interesting in who would pitch for Minster. After checking the state high school rule book and seeing that a pitcher was permitted 125 pitches in a day rather than just a game, Schmiesing - drawing on the legacy of former Wildcat Doug Huber, who pitched both the semifinal and championship game of the 2012 Division IV state tournament - took the ball for game two with 57 pitches to work with.

"We didn't plan for that 12-inning game," said Eilerman, referring to having both Niemeyer and Couse throw enough pitches in that game to being unable to pitch for the rest of the tournament. "We were running out of pitching and having him throw as much as he could."

This time, Loramie was ready as Gabe Hart reached on a two-out error, then Louis Hart singled home the first run. Jace Ruhenkamp followed with a single of his own to make it 2-0 before Schmiesing got the final out.

Schmiesing was done after just 16 pitches, but his effort sparked the Wildcats in the second inning. After Sammy Goubeaux got the first out for Fort Loramie, Minster put the next nine batters on base and brought them home. Chase Dirksen started the run with a walk, followed by Beair drawing a walk. Ketner was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Couse, who singled home Dirkesen. Dylan Heitkamp followed with an RBI single to tie the game. Schmiesing followed with a two-run single. Loramie brought on Kaleb Bergman to try and halt the streak, but promptly gave up a two-run double to Niemeyer to clear the bases to make it 6-2. Ian Homan followed with an infield single before Edwards tripled home two more runs to make it 8-2. Louis Hart came on to pitch, only to be greeted by Dirksen dropping a perfect squeeze bunt to score Niemeyer to make it 9-2. After Beair walked again, Ketner popped out to end the inning.

Minster was not done, getting above the 10-run margin in the third with four more runs to make it 13-2. Beair singled home two runs and Schmiesing and Homan each added RBI singles in the inning. Four more runs came across in the bottom of the fourth as Niemeyer doubled home two more runs, Edwards added an RBI single and Homan had a sacrifice fly.

That was more than enough for Beair, who replaced Schmiesing on the mound. Beair allowed just two walks and a hit batsmen in his first three innings of work before pinch-hitter Alex Boeke led off the top of the fifth with a single. An error moved the runners up a base and another error loaded the bases for Louis Hart, who hit a fly to right to score Boeke. Ruhenkamp then lined a shot to center, only to have Couse make a diving catch to end the game.

"Reese came in and did a good job," said Eilerman. "The team fed off of one another."

Edwards, who went 7-of-8 with three runs scored and four RBI in the two championship games, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship games. Niemeyer went 5-of-8 with four RBI.

"What can you say about Rylan?" said Eilerman. "Tripled, doubled and a few singles."


Winner's Bracket Final

Fort Loramie 1, Minster 0

With the Wildcats having used three pitchers in Friday's 12-inning win over Coldwater, Ketner was given the task to give Minster some much-needed innings against Fort Loramie.

Ketner was up to the task, but so was Gabe Hart of Fort Loramie.

The two combined to allow just five hits and five walks in pitching matching complete games.

The lone run of the game came in the top of the third. Zach Dues led off for the Redskins with a single. Goubeaux grounded to short, but the throw to second took the defender off the bag, resulting in runners on first and second. Dylan Meyer followed with a bunt to move the runners up 90 feet. Gabe Hart walked to load the bases for Louis Hart, who was hit by a pitch to bring in Dues. Ketner then got the final two outs, then allowed just one hit the rest of the way.

Gabe Hart made the run hold up. The best threat for Minster to level the game came in the fourth when Louis Magoto reached on a one-out single, took second on a wild pitch and after Homan walked, took third on a groundout by Schmiesing. Hart stepped up and got Edwards to ground to third to end the threat.

Hart allowed a single to Niemeyer in the sixth. In the seventh, Schmiesing reached on an error, but was picked off in a rundown for the first out. Edward flew out to right. Grady Hein kept the game going with a walk, but Parker Kerrigan grounded to short to end the game.

Elimination Game

Coldwater 4, Marion Local 3

The game looked to be another pitchers' duel as Coldwater's Cale Wenning and Marion's Ethan Osterholt traded goose eggs early on. Coldwater got the opening run in the top of the third when Brady Lefeld scored on Mason Welsch's double. The Flyers responded in the bottom of the inning after Kale Ahrens led off with a single and scored on Kam Eifert's groundout to short.

Coldwater scored two in the top of the fourth thanks to an Jake Kessen RBI triple that scored Aaron Kaup. Kessen later scored on Caleb Schroer's sacrifice fly to center.

Again, Marion responded in the bottom of the inning as Kale Ahrens singled home Osterholt with the bases loaded, then Ben Meier walked to bring home Derek Knapke.

Both teams had chances to score in the fifth and sixth, but in the top of the seventh, Mason Smith reached on a one-out double, then went to third on a wild pitch. Wenning lofted a deep-enough fly to score the go-ahead run. Wenning, who went 3-for-3 at the plate, then shut down Marion 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh.

Elimination Bracket Final

Minster 9, Coldwater 2

Minster jumped out quickly on the Cavaliers with two runs in the bottom of the first inning when Dylan Heitkamp scored on a wild pitch and later Edwards' sacrifice fly scored Schmiesing. The Wildcats score two more in the second on Niemeyer's double.

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That was plenty of Homan, who held Coldwater to just three hits and five walks over seven innings and just 85 pitches. The Cavaliers picked up a run in the fifth when Kaup scored on a Braxton Taylor fielder's choice. Coldwater added another run in the sixth when Cale Wenning's groundout to third scored Baylen Blockberger.

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