Fort Recovery upsets Leipsic for trip to state

ELIDA – By the numbers, Fort Recovery appeared headed for a quick exit from the high school baseball tournament when the postseason began.

The Indians were a sixth seed who finished sixth in the Midwest Athletic Conference and spent much of the season hovering around the .500 mark.

But there they were, celebrating a Division IV regional championship after a stunning 5-1 win over No. 1-seeded Leipsic on Friday afternoon at Elida’s Ed Sandy Field.

Fort Recovery (15-12) will play Jeromesville Hillsdale next Saturday in a Division IV state semifinal at Canal Park in Akron.

Leipsic (25-3) appeared positioned for a trip to Akron after beating one of its biggest challengers, Lincolnview, in the district tournament, and having another highly regarded team, Minster, fall by the wayside when it was upset by Marion Local.

But Fort Recovery took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning Friday and the Vikings never caught up.

And one of the reasons for that was they struggled to catch up with the fastballs thrown by Fort Recovery pitcher Caden Grisez.

Grisez, the No. 2 pitcher for Fort Recovery, struck out seven, walked one and allowed only five hits.

“Caden is a really good No. 2. He did a phenomenal job on the mound and we played good defense and got the runs we needed,” Fort Recovery coach Kevin Eyink said.

“I think he was beating them with the fastball today. His fastball was really working today. He’s got a good curve and occasionally throws a knuckleball. He keeps them (hitters) off balance. But I think the fastball was the key today.

“I think these are tough kids and we play in a tough league. It’s a testament to the competition we play. That has prepared us to be in these games,” he said.

Fort Recovery increased its lead to 4-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Leipsic put runners on first base and second base in the bottom of the third inning when Quin Schroeder and Tommy Offenbacher hit back-to-back singles but could not take advantage of that scoring opportunity.

The Vikings got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning but got just one run after loading the bases with no outs.

Offenbacher led off the sixth inning with a single, Ethan Zeisloft singled and Trent Siefker drew a walk to load the bases.

But Grisez escaped with minimal damage by retiring the next three batters on an infield pop-up, a run-scoring ground out and another infield pop-up.

Fort Recovery added its fifth run in the top of the seventh and Grisez retired the side in order in the bottom of that inning.

Leipsic coach Darren Henry said, “It was a great year. Fantastic. We just weren’t good enough today.”

Fort Recovery 5, Leipsic 1

Score by innings:

Fort Recovery 202 000 1 — 5 9 2

Leipsic 000 001 0 — 1 5 0

WP — Caden Grisez (7 strikeouts, 1 walk, five hits)

LP — Nick Schroeder (2 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hits)

2B — Caden Grisez (FR), Gavin Faller (FR)

Records: Leipsic 25-3; Fort Recovery 15-12.