Baseball: Leipsic beats Crestview with dominant pitching, timely hitting

LEIPSIC — Leipsic’s baseball team plays in two leagues and hasn’t lost a game to a team in either one of them so far this season.

The Vikings, 17-1 overall, 7-0 in the Northwest Conference and 6-0 in the Putnam County League, took another step closer to an NWC championship with a 3-1 win over Crestview on Friday in a match-up of two of the top three NWC teams.

Leipsic got dominant pitching from Tommy Offenbacher, who threw a two-hitter and struck out 13, and added just enough timely hitting for the win.

Offenbacher didn’t allow a hit until Crestview’s Hunter Jones’ single with one out in the top of the sixth inning. And the Knights’ pitcher, Preston Kreischer, also was hard to hit early. He didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning and Leipsic got only four hits against him in the game.

“Both pitchers were just fantastic for like three innings, they were about unhittable. Then we made a couple of adjustments and were able to put a few more balls in play. Thank goodness we had a couple of timely hits,” Leipsic coach Darren Henry said.

“Tommy pitched a great game. He’s our No. 1 pitcher and we have a couple of guys after him who do a nice job,” he said.

The most timely of those Leipsic hits were in the bottom of the fourth inning when clean-up hitter Trent Siefker singled, moved up on a passed ball and scored when the next batter, Ty Lammers, singled for a 1-0 lead. After a walk to Colin Niese and a wild pitch, Lammers scored when Nick Schroeder grounded into a fielder’s choice, which produced a second run.

Crestview coach Jim Wharton said getting the early lead was huge, especially because of the level at which both pitchers were performing.

“Their pitcher pitched well, our pitcher pitched well enough to win. It was a great high school baseball game and they came up with the timely hitting and we didn’t. We just needed to put a string together and didn’t. And a lot of that was because of their pitcher,” he said.

Offenbacher described the Vikings’ fourth inning this way: “We got our guys scoring, we got our guys doing our thing.”

Leipsic catcher Quin Schroeder said, “He (Offenbacher) has a mix of about four pitches and two or three of them were working pretty good. When he finds the strike zone teams struggle to hit him.”

Schroeder was involved in a somewhat unusual play when he scored Leipsic’s final run in the fifth inning. He hit a single, got to second base when Offenbacher drew a walk, then scored from second base on a sacrifice fly when Crestview’s right fielder had to make a diving catch.

“I’ve never seen that before and I’ve never done that before myself,” Schroeder said.

Crestview got its only run in the top of the seventh inning when Zaine Cereghin walked, Connor Sheets hit a single and Cereghin scored on an error. But Offenbacher finished strong and got all three outs in the seventh inning on strikeouts.

Leipsic, which has six starters back from a team that finished 14-11 last season, can win the NWC championship outright with a win at Lincolnview next Friday.

“We thought we’d be competitive because we have six guys back from last year. We thought we’d be competitive because all six of those guys are good defensively and a couple of them pitched a lot last year,” Henry said.

Leipsic 3, Crestview 1

Score by innings:

Crestview 000 000 1 — 1 2 0

Leipsic 000 210 x — 3 4 2

WP — Tommy Offenbacher (13 strikeouts, 2 walks); LP — Preston Kreischer (6 strikeouts, 3 walks)

2B — Nick Schroeder (L)

Records: Leipsic 17-1, 7-0 NWC; Crestview 10-3, 5-1 NWC.