ELIDA – There is aggressive base running and then there is aggressive base running as practiced by the Coldwater baseball team.
The Cavaliers stole four bases, all in the first two innings, including a steal of home by shortstop Adam Klosterman that gave them a 2-0 lead over Fredericktown in Division III regional semifinal action Thursday at Elida’s Ed Sandy Field.
The Cavaliers (27-4) would go on to a 7-3 victory over the Freddies behind that aggressive play and the strong pitching effort of right-hander Derek Thobe.
Thobe gave the Freddies (25-6) a glimmer of hope when he walked the first two batters they sent to the plate in the first inning. But Thobe would shut the door on Fredericktown by getting three straight flyouts to end the inning.
Coldwater’s Grant Muhlenkamp got the Cavaliers jump started when he singled and stole second base in the top of the second inning. Klosterman coaxed a walk off of Freddies starting pitcher Kevin McClain and Coldwater had runners at first and second with one out. Third baseman Matt Kramer drove home Muhlenkamp with a single, and Klosterman advanced to third. He then stole home on the second pitch from McClain to give Coldwater a 2-0 lead and a huge dose of confidence.
“We wanted to be aggressive running the bases from the start,” Coldwater coach Brian Harlamert said. “The kids understand the situation and that steal was huge and gave us a 2-0 lead.”
Coldwater would go on to add single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings before adding two in the seventh to go up 7-1.
Fredericktown got its first hit in the fourth inning and its first run in the fifth when the Freddies managed three singles off of Thobe. They added two runs in the seventh inning off of left-handed reliever Brandon Kunk, who pitched the seventh inning in relief of Thobe.
Thobe went six innings and threw 107 pitches of which 63 were strikes. He allowed five hits, walked four and struck out seven to propel the Cavaliers to the regional final game against Huron at 5 tonight.
Huron advanced with a 3-2 win over Millbury Lake in the first game Thursday.
“I couldn’t find it at first but then I got used to the mound,” Thobe said. “I threw mostly fastballs and mixed in some curves; I just tried to stay relaxed and calm.”
Coldwater got two hits each from Brody Hoying and Mitch Heyne to pace the Cavaliers’ offensive attack.
“He (Thobe) might have been a little nervous at the start, all those pitches were up.” Harlamert said. “He found his composure, came back and got flyball outs and got stronger as the game went on.”