SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Wapakoneta pitcher Marshall Gerlach said he knew Trey Runneals’ line shot was gone the second it left the bat.
What he didn’t know in that instant was that it would curl just outside the left-field foul pole.
Gerlach took advantage of his second chance and blew a two-strike fastball by Runneals to secure a 4-3 comeback win over Shawnee in a nail-biter ACME baseball game Thursday at Shawnee High School.
“I had a lot of adrenaline going on that last pitch, just trying to get one by him,” Gerlach said.
Wapak overcame a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Shawnee tied it back up in the bottom half of the inning before Brandon Schreiber’s mad dash from second to score on Jake Bruns’ one-out single to center in the seventh.
Third-base coach Nick Sammetinger initially threw up the stop sign to Schreiber. But center fielder Tyler Lundy bobbled the ball. Schreiber never broke stride as he rounded third and barrelled toward home to score the game-winning run.
“I was going to stop but Nick kept yelling ‘Go! Go! Go!’,” Schreiber said. “So I figured he had bobbled it so I just hustled through.”
The game turned in the sixth inning when Shawnee was forced to replace starting pitcher Tyler Anderson.
Wapak cut the lead to 2-1 when Brandon Miller doubled into the gap in left-center and scored on Chandler Kaeck’s single to center.
Anderson then gave up back-to-back singles to Chase Culver and Andrew Hines to load the bases.
Runneals, the starting catcher, was pressed into duty to relieve Anderson, forcing Shawnee to put backup catcher Cody Fullenkamp behind the plate.
Fullenkamp allowed two passed balls. Jake Bruns, pinch-running for Kaeck, scored on the first and Culver scored the go-ahead run on the second.
“Good teams make their breaks and these guys made their breaks tonight,” Wapak coach Willie Sammetinger said. “Marshall threw an absolute gem. He threw about 20 more pitches than I wanted him to. But when you’re on top of a game like he was, ride the horse.”
Gerlach threw 110 pitches, 68 for strikes. He scattered nine hits while striking out five and walking just one to pick up his second win in as many starts.
Shawnee tied the game back up at 3-3 on a suicide squeeze in the seventh. Sam Altenbach reached and advanced to second on shortstop Josh Apple’s throwing error. Kyle Miller bunted him to third before Geoff Akin put down a beautiful bunt to score Altenbach.
But Wapak got the lead back for good in the seventh.
Schreiber drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on Apple’s sacrifice bunt. Then Miller drew a walk to set up Bruns’ game-winning single.
Wapak, now 4-0 on the season, is set to square off with LCC tonight at 6:30 at home.