BLUFFTON ‚?? Bath pitcher Johny Simindinger benefitted from good control, no matter which direction he was facing on the mound, when the Wildcats beat Wapakoneta 1-0 in the Division II baseball district tournament semifinals at Bluffton University on Friday.
The senior right-hander threw a four-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and no walks. And the one time he encountered significant trouble, he turned around a fired a perfect pickoff throw to second base.
The Wildcats (14-10) will play Eastwood (7-17) at 2 p.m. today for the district championship. The Eagles beat Shawnee 2-0 in the other district semifinal.
‚??He‚??s been our leader all year. When he has the ball in his hand we feel like we have a good chance of beating people,‚?Ě Bath coach Brian Jesko said about Simindinger. ‚??He had good command of his pitches and kept those guys off balance most of the day.‚?Ě
Wapakoneta pitcher Johnny Crawford allowed only two hits, struck out seven and didn‚??t walk a batter, either.
The rally that produced the game‚??s only run started when the Redskins (16-7-1) committed back-to-back errors to put Simindinger and Caleb Norton on base to start the top of the fourth inning. Then No. 4 hitter Keaton Sullivan delivered a single to left field to score Simindinger.
In the bottom of the fifth, Wapakoneta‚??s first two hitters, Mickie Grothause and Dustin Gerlach, singled to put runners and first and second base. After a bunt failed to advance the runners, Simindinger picked Gerlach off second base to dilute the threat.
‚??I was trying to hit spots and I was able to pitch to contact because I knew the plays behind me would get made,‚?Ě Simindinger said.
His ability to hit spots has been his biggest strength all season, Jesko said.
‚??I think he kept them guessing. He can locate his pitches. Where guys might think it‚??s a fastball count, he‚??s able to throw some off-speed stuff and keep them honest,‚?Ě the Bath coach said. ‚??He‚??s not giving guys free bases by walking them. He‚??s really going after them and attacking them.‚?Ě
Eastwood pitcher Nick Vespi, a freshman left-hander, was also in attack mode, holding Shawnee (14-11) to three hits, while striking out four and walking three.
The Eagles got only two hits off Shawnee‚??s Trey Runneals (4 strikeouts, 8 walks), but both drove in runs.
Eastwood went up 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning when No. 9 hitter Johnny Zellers walked, moved to second on a sacrifice, went to third on a groundout and scored on a singled by Skylar Dierker.
In the sixth inning, a walk, an error and a double by Vespi raised the lead to 2-0. Shawnee outhit Eastwood 3-2, but all two of the Indians‚?? three hits came with the bases empty.
‚??We hit some balls well today but we hit them at people,‚?Ě Shawnee coach Chad Spencer said. ‚??We got rips in on him. It was just one of those days.‚?Ě
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