COLDWATER — For 15 years as head coach of the Wapakoneta ACME team, Willie Sammetinger had never seen his team make the state tournament.
Willie Sammetinger is a patient man.
The long wait came to an end Monday, as the Redskins blasted by Coldwater in their own back yard with an 8-0 win in the district final.
“We were close last year,” Sammetinger said after the game. “We came within one run. This year they kicked the door down and ran right through it.”
Wapakoneta jumped out right away in the first and chased Coldwater starting pitcher Christian Schramm before he could record an out. Second baseman Alex Koch and right fielder Andrew Hines drew back-to-back walks to to start the inning, and catcher Brandon Schreiber’s perfectly placed bunt single loaded the bases with no outs.
First baseman Brandon Miller cleared the bases by ripping a double down the first base line. Designated hitter Chandler Kaeck then doubled off of the fence in right-center field fence to score Miller and chase Schramm.
The Redskins didn’t need nearly that many runs, though they would add insurance runs later on. While starting pitcher Chase Culver’s complete game shutout could hardly be called a dominant performance, he made the best use of his situations. He scattered seven hits and struck out six batters with a walk. He needed 113 pitches to get through the game, 71 for strikes and 42 for balls.
However, Culver “gutted” it out by working himself out of several situations. He stranded seven base runners in scoring position, including a bases-loaded situation in the third and seventh innings.
“We have to do a better job staying ahead in the count,” Sammetinger said after the game. “Chase threw a lot of unnecessary pitches that didn’t need to be thrown. But he got the job done and found a way to work out of situations.”
Kaeck and Culver hit RBI doubles in the third inning and shortstop Keaton Zwiebel added a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0. Schreiber singled to lead off the fourth inning and later scored on a wild pitch to round out the scoring.
Sammetinger said he had a feeling the team would be ready to play.
“We had a bad practice the other day and I pulled them off the field,” Sammetinger said. “I told the other coaches they would be ready to play today.”
Wapakoneta was given a boost by the great play of Keaton Zwiebel, who played admirably at shortstop in the absence of normal starter Josh Apple, who was on vacation. Zwiebel contributed the sac fly and played the hole showing great range and not committing any errors.
“Keaton did a great job,” Sammetinger said.
Sammetinger said the team set goals at the beginning of the year and has accomplished each and every one as the season went along.
“They wanted to beat every team in the county,” Sammetinger said. “They wanted to win 20 games and win the sectional. They wanted to perform well in the district. It would be great to see them finish this off and finish 26-2. That’s four more wins to a state championship.”
Wapakoneta, now 22-2 on the season, opens state tournament play against Defiance at noon Saturday in Bryan.