WAPAKONETA — In a tuneup for the start of this week’s OHSAA Sectional Tournament, Wapakoneta defeated Minster 6-2 during a nonconference softball game Monday at MercyHealth Field.
The Redskins (12-12 overall) ended a five-game losing streak by jumping ahead of the Wildcats (17-7) early. Allie Wilson led off the first inning with a triple and came home on a relay throw. Then in the second, Rylie Jeanneret hit a two-out RBI single to plate Carlie Schroeder, who was perched at third base after collecting a one-out triple, for a 2-0 Redskins lead.
“It’s been a struggle for us (of late) and it seemed like we couldn’t get over the hump against some really good teams,” Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons said. “We have played some really good teams, and it’s hard to get the momentum going against teams when you barely get beat by them.
“Our girls stayed positive and continued to work hard,” Sammons added. “In (Monday’s) game, our approach was to take it one pitch at a time to see what happens. What a great way to take it into the postseason with that kind of approach. I’m not sure our girls know how great of a team Minster really is because they’re on top in the Midwest Athletic Conference. We just beat a really good team.”
Minster coach Robb Hemmelgarn was disappointed with the Wildcats’ start against the Redskins.
“We came here, and it seemed like there were other places that we wanted to be,” Hemmelgarn said. “It was a 4:30 p.m. start because our school had band practice. I don’t know if our girls came here and wanted this game as much as they wanted 20 other games this season. That’s something that we need to figure out.”
The Wildcats found their offense in the fourth inning, when they tied the game at 2. Four of the first five Minster hitters reached base against Wapakoneta pitcher Jeanneret as Alexis Bishop led off with a double, and Alayna Albers, Rachael Hoying and Mikaela Hoskins followed with three consecutive one-out singles. Hoying and Hoskins each produced an RBI.
Sammons said the Redskins were able to rebound during their final two at-bats, when Wapakoneta took a 3-2 lead on Maddi Doseck’s RBI double in the fifth inning before scoring three times in the sixth.
“All year, it’s kind of been like that because we have had trouble solidifying games,” Sammons said. “We kind of knew that because we have young pitchers who are just learning the system, just learning the pressure and just learning how to stay ahead in the count. While our pitchers are learning, where kind of giving them a buffer with our offense and defense. I don’t think our team feels pressure when we’re behind because we have the ability to make a comeback.”
The Redskins grabbed a four-run lead in the sixth inning, when Taylor West led off with a double and scored on Katie Lisi’s RBI single. Jeanneret extended the Redskins’ rally with an RBI single before Wilson’s RBI groundout produced the final WHS run.
Doseck and Jeanneret finished with two hits apiece.
Jeanneret shut down the Wildcats the rest of the way, working a 1-2-3 fifth inning and pitching out of trouble after allowing a pair of baserunners each in the sixth (two walks) and seventh (hit-by-pitch, walk). She posted a complete game win while yielding two earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and five walks.
Hoying was the losing pitcher. In 5 1/3 innings, she gave up six earned runs on ten hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Hoskins relieved in the sixth, when she secured the final two outs without allowing a hit or a run.
Wapakoneta is the No. 11 seed in the OHSAA Division I Maumee Sectional/District Tournament. The Redskins travel 96 miles one way to play at No. 8 seed Toledo Start in a sectional championship game at 5 p.m. today.
“I have a few friends who has given me some information on Start,” Sammons said of his postseason scouting process. “The problem is that we’re the southernmost team in Division I right now, and we don’t get much respect from the teams in the Toledo area. That’s okay because they don’t know who we are, and that’s how we like it. We can go into that game with no expectations, and we’ll see how things go. I know our girls will give it everything that they have.”
Minster is the No. 1 seed in the OHSAA Division IV Wapakoneta Sectional/District Tournament. The Wildcats host a sectional championship game against the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal contest between No. 12 seed Spencerville and No. 9 seed Upper Sandusky at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Spencerville-Upper Sandusky game was in progress at press time.
“I told our girls that every game needs to be a learning experience,” Hammelgarn said. “We came to a field (in Wapakoneta) that, hopefully, we will be playing at (in the district tournament) next week. It was a chance for us to get used to the atmosphere and get used to having a different pregame routine. That means a lot to us moving forward.”
MercyHealth Field is the site of the OHSAA Division IV Wapakoneta District Tournament, beginning Tuesday.