ELIDA ‚?? The longer the game went, the better Troy Warnecke looked.
When it was over, Warnecke proved he can do a pretty good impression of Blue Jays ace Curtis Geise.
Warnecke fired a two-hitter in a 3-1 Blue Jays‚?? victory over Miller City in the Division IV baseball district finals Friday at Ed Sandy Field.
Warnecke (2-3) went the distance and gave up one earned run on two hits. He struck out three and walked two. Warnecke used his breaking ball and his fastball at knee level, throwing 82 pitches, 55 for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 28 batters he faced.
‚??There was extra incentive being a district finals game,‚?Ě Warnecke said. ‚??I tried to keep them off-balance with the curve because I don‚??t have an overwhelming fastball. I tried to keep my fastball low with Curt (Geise) behind me at shortstop.‚?Ě
Delphos St. John‚??s (11-14) advances to the regional to meet the Ottawa Hills/Northwood winner at 2 p.m. Thursday at Patrick Henry High School. Miller City ends it season 17-8.
Warnecke gave up one run on two hits in the second inning. Miller City scored its run when Adam Drummelsmith scored from third on a fielder‚??s choice grounder to short by Adam Niese.
Warenecke didn‚??t allow a hit after the second.
He had 1-2-3 innings in the first, fourth and sixth.
‚??It was the biggest game I‚??ve ever pitched in,‚?Ě Warnecke said. ‚??I was fortunate to put it all together today.‚?Ě
Added Miller City coach Dusty Pester, ‚??I thought he changed his speeds really well and threw a lot of breaking balls. ‚?Ľ You go from having 16 hits (in the semifinals) to two hits and it‚??s going to be tough to win.‚?Ě
And when Miller City did hit the ball hard, it was usually gobbled up by Geise at short. He had six assists and two putouts, with several plays coming from the hole at deep short.
‚??They made plays and Geise at shortstop was probably the difference in us putting a few more runs on the board,‚?Ě Pester said.
Miller City starter right-hander Jackson Lammers (4-2) pitched well, throwing his big looping breaking ball consistently for strikes. He went the whole way, giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits. He struck out four and walked three. Lammers threw 93 pitches, 59 for strikes.
The Blue Jays tied the game in the third on an RBI groundout to second by Ryan Buescher.
In the fifth, Geise singled and stole second. Buescher hit a grounder to the right side that the first baseman fielded in the hole and flipped to the pitcher covering. But when the pitcher dropped the ball, Geise came home with the go-ahead run to make it 2-1.
‚??I rounded it (third) and was looking and the pitcher made a good play to get over there, but he bobbled it and I saw it on the ground and took off,‚?Ě Geise said.
Andrew Metzger‚??s RBI groundout to short gave the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead in the fifth.
For the Blue Jays, Warnecke and Ben Wrasman both went 2 for 3. Geise was 1 for 3 with two stolen bases.
That was more than enough for Warnecke, who entered the game with a 1-3 record and an ERA close to 3.00.
‚??He had all his pitches working and really had them off-balance,‚?Ě St. John‚??s coach Ryan Warnecke said. ‚??He threw well early in the year against Jefferson, but he hurt himself and hadn‚??t been right most of the season. We finally got him enough rest where he came out today and he felt like he was at his best.‚?Ě
Warnecke got the first two men out in the seventh before walking Logan Dukes.
Coach Warnecke said he gave Troy Warnecke one more batter before he was going to turn to Geise.
But Warnecke got Ross Kaufman to pop up to short to end it.
And the Blue Jays return to the regionals for the second time in three years.
Miller City vs. DSJ