It has been two months since the Wapakoneta Redskins scrimmaged the Tiffin Columbian Tornadoes.
A lot has changed since then. Thursday, both teams will find out just how much when they meet in a Division II district semifinal at 2 p.m. at Bluffton University.
Monday, the Redskins rolled in their final tuneup before that game, defeating the Riverside Pirates 10-0 in six innings in a game added to the schedule at the last minute.
“At this point in the season, you just want to get a lot of reps and game-like situations,” Wapak coach Jason Brandt said. “The best way to simulate that is to actually play.
“That Riverside team is a very good team. They’ve won 19 games and they’re going into the district semifinals as well this week.”
Marshall Gerlach pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out seven and walking just one while holding the Pirates to just two hits.
Wapak took advantage of six walks and a couple big hits to score eight runs in the home half of the sixth to seal the run-rule win.
Pinch hitter Dylan Knoch’s bases-loaded double drove in the final three runs.
Earlier in the inning, Brandon Miller came within 18 inches of a grand slam home run but ended up with a two-run double instead when his shot just missed clearing the left field wall. It was the second double of the game for Miller.
Chandler Kaeck also had a double and scored twice in the game.
Brandon Schreiber scored twice and drove in a run. Dom Campos was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Now Brandt and the Redskins turn their attention to Columbian.
“We know we played a very good game against them when we scrimmaged them,” Brandt said. “But I know they’re a lot better than they were that day. And I know we’re better than we were that day.
“Some of our former players have gone up to scout them for us. We’re going to take a look at that and put a scouting report together.”
Johnny Crawford will start on the mound for Wapak.
“The biggest thing with any pitcher is throwing strikes,” Brandt said. “Johnny has been throwing strikes from Day 1, working ahead in the count. And he has control of a lot of his pitches.”
But Brandt said anything goes in tournament play.
“Everybody will be well-rested. Whatever it takes to win that game,” he said. “If I have to use three or four pitchers, I will.”