ELIDA – The Elida ACME baseball team has endured its share of dramatic wins this summer season.
But, probably none of those wins were any more dramatic than Saturday’s come-from-behind 7-6 thriller over Van Wert in first-round action of the District 5 ACME Tournament at Dick Prince Field.
After being forced to go into extra innings, with the score knotted at 2, Van Wert scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning to take a seemingly commanding 6-2 lead.
However, Elida rallied in the home half of the eighth, scoring five runs on seven base hits, to pull out the thrilling one-run victory.
With the win, Elida (14-4) will take on Crestview (7-9) in the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday at Dick Prince Field.
Crestview slipped past Shawnee 6-4 in the other first-round game Saturday.
Shawnee went on for 10-5 win against Van Wert (15-4) to stay alive in the tournament. Shawnee (12-6) will play the loser of Sunday’s matchup between Elida and Crestview, with that game starting approximately at 3:30 p.m.
Elida pounded 14 hits off Van Wert pitching on Saturday. However, early on, Elida struggled to find timely hits.
“We finally got it going there in the eighth,” Elida coach Tony Moore said. “It was timely hitting. It was timely hitting and guys believing. When you’re down four runs, how often are you going to win the game? … Not very often. The guys believed, strung some hits together and got a win.”
In that big eighth inning, Elida finally got to Van Wert starting pitcher Owen Treece. Up through seven innings, Treece, a freshman, gave up two runs on eight hits, while striking out six and walking just one batter. Jake Lautzenheiser and Hayden Maples both came in to pitch for Van Wert in the eighth, but neither hurler could close the door on Elida.
Elida’s winning run was on a bases-loaded walk by No. 2 hitter Jordan Davis.
“We were very patient,” Moore said. “We got down four. The guys took it one bat at a time, hit after hit. They believed what we were telling them. They’ve had a number of comeback wins. It’s been fun to be a part of it.”
Justin Moore led the Elida hitting attack, going 3-for-4 at the plate. Matt Fish, Max Parker and Josh Howard each had two hits for Elida.
Luke Burger got the starting nod on the mound for Elida. Burger pitched seven-plus innings before being pulled. Burger was tabbed for four runs on six hits, while striking out seven and walking five. Burger threw a total of 104 pitches.
Josh Howard came in from his left-field position to work the last inning. Howard scattered three hits.
“He (Burger) was actually our best pitcher all spring, too,” Moore said. “He threw a great game. It got away from him there in the end, but we got out of it with only giving up four. That’s all we needed, because we scored five (in the bottom of the eighth). So, it worked out well for us.”
Van Wert managed to get nine hits off Elida pitching. Jalen McCracken led Van Wert with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. McCracken also drove in three runs. Teammates John Lee and Nate Temple both had two hits on the day.
“I’m thinking that Jake Lautzenheiser is going to come in and finish it out,” Van Wert coach Brent Spray said about the eighth inning. “That’s going through my head. We had the momentum and thought with the defense we have and the pitching we have, it was going to be a good result for us. Obviously, it didn’t work out.”
Added Moore, “It’s always nice to be in the winners’ bracket. It’s always nice to play one game a day and not have to play a doubleheader.”
Crestview 6, Shawnee 4
Despite pounding 10 hits off Crestview pitching on Saturday, Shawnee fell two runs short in its opening game.
Defensively, Shawnee committed four errors.
The score was deadlocked 3-3, heading into the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Crestview scored three runs on three hits, while Shawnee committed two errors. Caden Hurless (2-for-2, 3 RBI, 2 walks) and Dylan Hicks both drove in a run for Crestview. Crestview had eight hits on the day.
Brant Richardson pitched all seven innings for Crestview. The left-handed Richardson struck out two, walked one and hit a batter. He threw 105 pitches.
Richardson also got the job done at the plate, going 2-for-3. Teammate Kaden Short also had two hits for Crestview.
Kale Ebling led the Shawnee hitting attack, going 3-for-3 along with a walk. Johnny Caprella had two hits for Shawnee.
Dalton Miller started on the pitching mound for Shawnee. Miller worked 3 1/3 innings, before giving way to Jared Thomas. Miller gave up three runs on five hits, while striking out three and walking six.
Thomas worked two innings, before giving way to Gavin Wolff in the sixth.
“We competed, left several runners on early, but the kids stayed positive and just continued to stay in the game and not let it get away from us,” Crestview coach Jeff Helm said. “I can’t say enough about his (Richardson) job on the mound. He kept us in the game. He kept competing and we were able to string some hits together and was able to kind of break it open there in the bottom of the sixth. I’m very proud of the kids.”
HAMLER — Archbold defeated Miller City 5-0 and Ottawa-Glandorf topped Tinora 4-3 to open play Saturday at Patrick Henry. Archbold then went on to beat O-G 12-0 to advance to the championship round.
Miller City will meet Tinora at 1 p.m. Sunday followed by the winner of that game going against O-G. All games will be at Patrick Henry.
ST. HENRY — In quarterfinal play Saturday, Defiance defeated Dayton Carroll 10-2, Ottawa-Glandorf topped Shawnee 16-6, Archbold topped Minster 10-1 and St. Henry dropped Anthony Wayne 9-1.
Sunday at St. Henry, Defiance plays O-G at 10 a.m. followed by Archbold and St. Henry and then the championship game at 3 p.m.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.