COLDWATER – Location, location, location.
That was the main ingredient for Shawnee pitcher Austin Brachok in Shawnee’s 3-2 victory over Coldwater in Saturday’s first game of the ACME State Tournament at Coldwater Memorial Park.
Brachok scattered just four base hits, walked four and did not strike out a single batter in his complete-game effort. Brachok threw a total of 94 pitches.
Brachok’s teammates gave him plenty of support as Shawnee did not commit an error in the field. For the game, Brachok forced Coldwater hitters into 12 ground outs.
Coldwater did not record its first hit off Brachok until the third inning. With the win, Shawnee (19-4) will play Anthony Wayne today at 5 p.m.
Coldwater (23-5) slips into the losers’ bracket and will face Vandalia at 12 noon today.
“He’s been around the plate all year,” Shawnee coach Tim Morgan said about Brachok. “He’s consistent and he just works hard, every time he’s out there.”
Brachok normally does not record many strikeouts. The senior right-hander wants to keep the ball down low in the strike zone and let his defense make plays.
“I just try to keep it low and make them hit the ball,” Brachok said. “I trust my defense. I just try to keep it in the zone and try to prevent high pitch counts.”
Offensively, the Indians pounded eight hits.
Shawnee got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run in the top half of the third. Designated-hitter Jacob Hixenbaugh led off the third with a single to right field and made it to second base, thanks to an error in the outfield. Chase Wilder followed with an RBI single to center.
In the fourth, Coldwater scored two runs on two hits to claim its only lead of the day, 2-1. Adam Klosterman’s double to deep left, scored both Malave Bettinger and Blake Spangler. Bettinger led off the inning with a
walk and Spangler followed with a single to center.
Shawnee responded in the top of the fifth, plating two runs on two hits to reclaim the lead. Jake Sevitz and William Kleffner each had singles for the Indians. Coldwater helped pave the way for Shawnee as it committed two
errors in the inning. For the game, the Cavaliers committed three miscues in the field.
Brachok was in control the final three innings, setting the Cavs down in order in both the fifth and seventh innings.
“It feels good to get revenge, because we lost to them 11-0 last time (regular season),” Brachok said. “I actually pitched in that last game. I pitched five innings and gave up about six runs. Today was a lot better.”
Grant Muhlenkamp started on the mound for Coldwater. Muhlenkamp went five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while striking out three. He tossed 74 pitches.
Greg Gilliland came in to take over for Coldwater in the sixth. Gilliland worked the final two innings, striking out three.
Morgan said his team’s game plan was simple.
“We have to play our game. Mainly, we have to hit. …We did that today. We played great defense and our pitching came through for us once again. You have to play that way against Coldwater. You’ve got to put the pressure on those guys. They’re a great team. You’ve just got to keep the pressure on them constantly, when you’re on top of them,” he said.