ST. HENRY — Minster starting pitcher Austin Knapke had no tomorrow in the best-of-three series to decide a district ACME champion.
Knapke’s pitching and some timely hits have Minster in prime position for a state berth.
Ryan Hoying hit a two-run home run and Knapke frustrated Cavalier batters for six innings in the Wildcats’ 3-1 win over Coldwater in the first game of the ACME district championship series on Thursday night.
Knapke, along younger brother Andrew who started at second base on Thursday, are unavailable for tonight’s action because of a family wedding.
Knapke took a shutout into the seventh inning. He stranded a Coldwater runner at third base in the first, fourth and sixth innings. He gave up one run on five hits, striking out three and walking three. For a spell between the second inning to the sixth inning, Knapke retired 11 of 12 Coldwater batters.
“I knew he wasn’t going to be here on Friday and I figured we need to use him sometime this week, might as well use him tonight,” Minster coach Scott Sherman said. “And he did phenomenal. He threw strikes, kept them off balance, mixed up his pitches and hit his spots.”
The Wildcats now have their top two pitchers, Adam Niemeyer and Doug Huber, ready to go tonight against the Cavaliers — needing one of the two games to advance to state.
“He did exactly what we needed him to do tonight,” Sherman said.
Minster is a win away from a trip to the state ACME tournament. The Wildcats and Cavaliers face off again tonight at 6 p.m. at St. Henry. If Minster wins one of the two possible games tonight, they’ll head to the state tournament at Celina next week. Coldwater is in an elimination situation, needing to win the first game to force a second game.