COLDWATER — Sometimes a short memory can be a good thing.
In a double-elimination baseball tournament, it’s essential.
After Defiance exploded for eight runs in the seventh inning to pull away for a convincing 13-3 victory over Shawnee in Wednesday’s winners’ bracket final at the ACME state tournament at Coldwater Memorial Park, Shawnee coach Tim Morgan was already shifting his focus to Friday’s game.
“That’s all you can do. …You just come out and play ball,” Morgan said. “The first thing you want to do is forget about it — on the way home. That’s a tough loss, right there.”
Defiance led 5-3, heading into the top of the seventh.
In the seventh, the Bulldogs sent 13 batters to the plate and pounded five hits en route to putting themselves into Saturday’s championship game.
Shawnee (20-5) will return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when it plays the winner of Wednesday’s second game of the night, between Bellefontaine and Coldwater out of the losers’ bracket. The results of that game were not made available to The Lima News by press time.
The winner of Friday’s game will face Defiance (21-6) at noon Saturday. Defiance, the defending ACME state champions, will have to lose twice on Saturday to be eliminated.
Austin Brachok started on the mound for Shawnee. Brachok worked six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He struck out seven, walked two and hit a batter. Brachok threw a total of 107 pitches.
Logan Spieles came in to take over on the mound for Shawnee in the seventh. Spieles lasted just 1/3 of an inning, before being lifted. Spieles was tabbed for six runs on three hits.
Landon DeMoss came in to close out the game for Shawnee.
Austin Hancock got the starting nod on the mound for Defiance. Hancock went six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. Hancock struck out seven, walked one and hit a batter. He tossed 100 pitches.
Ty Gutierrez came in to close out the seventh for Defiance.
After getting seven hits off Shawnee pitching in the first six innings, Defiance jumped all over Spieles in the seventh.
“They started hitting the ball well,” Morgan said. “Brachok’s pitch-count was getting up and we felt like we had to make a move. They just hit the snot out of the ball. …That’s all there was to it.”
Defiance took its first lead of the game, scoring three runs in the top half of the third, making it 3-0.
In the bottom half of the third, Shawnee responded, scoring three runs on four hits. Trevor Anderson (2 for 3) had a double that drove in two runs. Shawnee added another run in the third, thanks to a throwing error by Defiance.
In the fifth, Defiance reclaimed the lead, 5-3, scoring two runs on three hits. Garrett Sierra led the way with a double. For the game, Sierra went 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs.
“We were just telling the team that it’s been kind of a common theme for us in this tournament. …We’ve really turned it on late,” Defiance coach Bryn Lehman said. “We don’t necessarily want to do that, but it’s nice to get some breathing room.
“Everybody is going to think that the big seventh inning (was key), but the two runs we got in the fifth inning were huge.”