DEFIANCE — While the Wapakoneta ACME team finished in fourth place with a 1-2 weekend, their head coach says “they picked up some valuable experience against some very good teams.”
In the tournament opener Wapak went up against Toledo Central Catholic (TCC) ACME Fighting Irish in a game played Saturday at Defiance College and came away with a hard fought 3-2 victory.
Wapak starting pitcher Jake Bruns and TCC starter Paul Shomar were both in command on the mound and scoring opportunities were scarce all day.
Wapak went on top 1-0 in the second inning by continuing the recent small ball philosophy — Keaton Metz singled leading off, and Taylor Gonzales followed with a 1-out single. Jordan Kaeck bunted both runners up a base and Quinn Lotridge singled to right with two outs for the lead.
Bruns allowed only 2 baserunners through 3 innings before TCC broke through in the fourth inning to even the score at 1 with a single, stolen base and another single.
The Irish then took the lead in the fifth as the first two batters singled and were advanced on a sacrifice bunt. They went ahead 2-1 on the third single of the inning. A key strikeout and a groundout to first ended the big inning threat, and from that point on Bruns was perfect with 1-2-3 innings in the final two innings.
The Skins offense went to work in the sixth inning and produced the two needed runs.
Chace Culver led off with a single and moved up on a Metz sacrifice bunt. Gonzales tied things up at 2l with a single, and after a Wapak hitter struck out, Lotridge delivered another 2-out single to right for the 3-2 lead and the victory.
Wapakoneta ACME head coach Willie Sammetinger praised his starting pitcher.
“Jake competed very hard out there on the mound today, we had a reliever warming up in both the fifth and sixth innings and Jake wanted the opportunity to finish the game,” Sammetinger said. “His pitch count finished at 86 for the game so we gave him the chance and he came through."
He finished the day striking out eight batters while giving up six hits and one walk in seven innings. He gave up two runs, both earned.
The victory over TCC advanced Wapak to face Defiance later on Saturday at the Defiance High School field.
The Redskins suffered through one bad inning, a six-run third for Defiance and came up just short in an 8-6 loss.
Wapak jumped out quickly against Defiance with Lotridge leading off the game with a double.
Defiance threatened in the bottom of the first with 2 walks and a single loading the bases against starting pitcher Kodi Morgan, before a routine pop-up to second base ended the inning.
Wapak put two runners on base in both the second inning — Defiance error and a Griffin Parrett single — and the third inning — Defiance error and a Jordan Kaeck single creating the scoring opportunities, but they were unable to capitalize as the Defiance starting pitcher recorded seven strikeouts through the first three innings to keep things close.
The bottom of the third proved disastrous for Wapak. After retiring the lead-off hitter, Morgan surrendered a double, hit a batter, a single and a bases clearing triple with Defiance grabbing a 3-1 lead.
Metz came on in relief and retired the first batter he faced with a strikeout, but the next four batters reached base before Wapak could finally get the third out. Defiance scored six runs to take a 6-1 lead after 3 innings.
The fourth looked familiar as another Defiance error and Lotridge single again put two runners on base, and the Defiance pitching continued to get key strikeouts when needed to keep Wapak off the scoreboard.
In the fifth inning Wapak finally broke through and pulled to within a run at 6-5, finally getting some big hits with runners on base. The rally started with Chandler Kaeck walking and Culver following with a 1-out single.
A Metz single scored the innings first run, with Culver getting cut down at 3rd on the play. Morgan singled to put runners on the corners for Gonzales, who launched a bomb over the left-field fence for a 3-run home run and the Skins were back in the game at 6-5.
Defiance answered right back in the bottom of the 5th to regain the momentum.
A single and an error put runners on first and second base, with a sac bunt advancing both of them.
Defiance managed to plate both runners, although two stellar defensive by the Skins kept the game within reach.
Behind 8-5 after 5 innings, Wapak kept battling in the sixth as Nick Bruns worked a lead-off walk and Chandler Kaeck launched a run scoring double to close the gap to within 8-6.
Wapak’s 3rd pitcher of the game, Nick Bruns worked a scoreless sixth to give Wapak a chance in the top of the seventh, but the Skins were retired 1-2-3 and fell by the final of 8-6.
Wapak then played Perrysburg on Sunday in third place game.
With 4 starting players gone at basketball camp Wapak battled hard using an improvised lineup and some Junior ACME call-ups before falling 11-3 in a game which saw Wapak outhit Perrysburg by a 12-7 margin.
“We worked hard offensively, hit the ball well, just left to many runners (13) on base,” Sammetinger said. “Defensively five errors were simply too much to overcome, same problem we’ve been fighting all season.”
The game was scoreless after three innings with Wapak missing out on opportunities in the first and third innings. A lead-off single by Lotridge and a Nate Kaeck single put two on in the first, and a Griffin Parrett walk, Lotridge single and Chandler Kaeck single loaded the bases in the third but still no runs.
Lotridge started and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the 1st and sailed into the fourth inning when the defense ran into trouble. An error, a ground-out and another error produced the first Perrysburg run, and from there a walk and two singles pushed the total to three unearned runs in the inning.
Perrysburg stretched the lead to 8-0 in the top of the sixth before Wapak finally broke through with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Gonzales singled but a double-play grounder had Wapak stalled with two out and nobody on before the Skins strung together 5 straight hits.
Parrett and Lotridge singled and both scored on a Jordan Kaeck double. Chandler Kaeck singled in a 3rd run and Nate Kaeck singled to put runners on the corners before Perrysburg could finally record the 3rd out.
Perrysburg added 3 unearned runs off of reliever Nate Kaeck in the top of the 7th to push the final margin to 11-3.
The Wapak season record now stands at 6-4 and they play next on Thursday at St. Marys.