PERRY TOWNSHIP — KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK.
The strikeout symbol blanketed the scorecard when Delphos St. John’s Curtis Geise finished his work with his 86 mph fastball and nose-diving breaking ball.
Geise struck out 16 in a 5-1 victory over Waynesfield-Goshen to win the Division IV baseball sectional championship Thursday at Phil Krouskop Field.
Geise (6-1) tossed a complete-game two-hitter, giving up one unearned run. He walked none and hit a batter. Geise pounded the strike zone with his two pitches, throwing 98 pitches, 71 for strikes.
“He had his fastball going for him and the kids couldn’t catch up to it,” Delphos St. John’s coach Ryan Warnecke said. “He really kept his pitch count low today for us.”
A key for Geise was his running fastball, which kept dancing its way up and in. The Tigers’ hitters couldn’t lay off of it.
“They helped me out on a lot of them, but luckily that’s how it goes,” Geise said. “The ball may look like it’s going down the middle, but it ends up tailing high. I had more control than I’ve had this season. It all came together.”
Waynesfield-Goshen coach Jeff Schultz said, “He (Geise) pitched a heck of a game today, but I’m proud of our boys. Delphos jumped out on us early and we did not give up.”
St. John’s (9-14) will meet Kalida in the district semifinals at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Elida. Waynesfield-Goshen is 5-12.
Geise had five 1-2-3 innings, including striking out the side in the sixth. He retired the first 11 batters he faced, eight on strikeouts.
Then, with two out in the fourth inning, the Tigers broke through with their first hit. Gabe Hennon, the club’s No. 3 hitter, jumped on a 1-2 breaking ball and hit a looping single to shallow left field.
St. John’s scored three in the first for the only runs it would need.
Geise started the first with a double and came home on an RBI single to right by Ryan Buescher. Clay Courtney’s two-run double into the right-field corner gave the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.
Buescher’s RBI single in the second gave St. John’s a 4-0 lead.
Buescher led the Blue Jays’ offense going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Geise was 2 for 4, while Courtney had two RBIs.
“He (Tigers starter Garrett Miller) had a good curveball and a pretty good fastball and he had me on my toes all day,” Buescher said.
The Tigers scored their only run when Miller scored from the third on the back end of a double steal, with Lucas Gray stealing second. That cut the St. John’s lead to 4-1 in the fifth.
Miller used his big, sweeping breaking ball often and was more effective as the game went on. He gave up only one hit over the final three innings.
Miller worked six innings and gave up five runs, all earned, on eight hits. He struck out six and walked four. Miller threw 113 pitches, 68 for strikes.
“Kudos to their pitcher,” Warnecke said. “He had a great curveball and kept us off-balance. We were swinging and missing a lot.”
Geise was the workhorse on the Blue Jays’ staff when the team reached the state tournament two years ago.
“We have a good group of guys who want to go far in tournament,” Geise said. “It’s a matter of having the desire to win and not making too many mistakes.”
DSJ vs. WG