- Eyes On
BRYAN — Wapakoneta emerged from the first weekend at the state ACME baseball tournament with a loss, but the Redskins are still alive after a bounceback win on Sunday.
The Redskins’ latest encounter in what has developed into a Western Buckeye League rivalry with Defiance was a 3-0 loss that put them in a must-win situation the rest of the tournament. Wapakoneta responded with a 12-3 win over Springfield on Sunday afternoon to stay alive in the tourney.
“We attacked the ball,” Wapakoneta ACME coach Willie Sammetinger said on Sunday. “We seemed like we were out of our funk today. Yesterday we seemed comatose but today we played well.”
Wapakoneta will play the loser of the game between Northmont and Napoleon on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Bryan’s Sumpter Field.
After being shutout in their state ACME opener the day before, Wapakoneta’s offense delivered a 14-hit barrage while Marshall Gerlach and reliever Keaton Zwiebel held Springfield in check.
Wapakoneta scored three first-inning runs and added two in the second, four in the fifth and three more in the seventh.
Marshall Gerlach gave up three runs in five and one-third innings. Sammetinger liked Gerlach’s aggressiveness in the strike zone a day after walks haunted the Redskins.
“Marshall worked ahead in the count most of the game,” Sammetinger said.
Zwiebel pitched a scoreless one and two-third innings for Wapak.
“He’s been steady all year,” Sammetinger said.
Wapakoneta scored three runs in the first when the right fielder couldn’t handle Chandler Kaeck’s line drive.
Springfield cut into the lead with two runs in the bottom of the first, but Wapakoneta kept adding on.
Dylan Knoch’s double brought home Andrew Hines in the top of the second.
A squeeze bunt by Hines brought home two runs and a Knoch RBI single made it 9-2.
The Redskins added three more runs in the seventh on two wild pitches and a throwing error.
Defiance southpaw Weston Rivers threw a three-hit shutout to lead Defiance to a 3-0 win over the Redskins in the opening game on Saturday in a rematch of a spring regional game that springboarded Wapak to the state tournament in June.
The six-foot-four, 240-pound Rivers struck out seven with a fastball and wriggling knuckleball.
“The kid had the knuckleball working today,” Sammetinger said. “We hit a lot of balls hard, but they were at people.”
All three of Defiance’s runs came from baserunners put on base by walks by starter Chace Culver.
“The big thing is we go to the seventh inning tied 0-0 if we don’t walk people,” Sammetinger said. “The three runs they got were on walks. We have to pitch ahead of people and not walk people.”
Culver gave up three runs in the five innings on six hits.
Dom Campos pitched a scoreless sixth inning and struck out two.
Dom Gentile gave Defiance a two-run lead in the bottom of the second with a line drive to left field.
Wapakoneta stayed within two runs when Culver got out of a jam of runners on the corner and nobody out without giving up a run.
He got a strikeout and coaxed a groundball to second base for the inning-ending double play in the third.
Wapakoneta tried to cut the 2-0 lead in half in the top of the fifth when Campos delivered a two-out single to right field, but Andrew Hines was tagged out after the throw from right field was on the money and Hines had gone too far down the baseline to get back to third.
Defiance added a run in the fifth on Derek Turner’s sacrifice fly that made it 3-0.