Elida survived another one-run affair to stay alive after outlasting Wapakoneta 11-10 in the second round of the winner’s bracket in District 5 ACME Sectional baseball tournament action Sunday.
With the win, Elida advances to the semifinals of the winner’s bracket and will face Lima Central Catholic at 4 p.m. today. Wapakoneta, who lost later in the day in the loser’s bracket to Bath 15-2, was eliminated from the tournament. Bath will play Shawnee who beat Delphos St. John’s 21-5 consolation bracket at 6p.m. today.
“We are living on the edge,” Elida head coach Brad Blymyer said. “It wasn’t pretty but we got it done. We hit the ball well but our defense struggled. Usually we are pretty solid but today was not our day.”
Leading 10-4 going into the bottom of the fifth, Elida appeared poised to make to advance in the winner’s bracket with two innings remaining and a six-run cushion. However, Wapakoneta exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth frame to knot the score at 10.
Wapakoneta’s Bubba Miller provided the big blow in the fifth when he laced a bases-loaded triple to left field and then scampered home after the throw to get him a third scooted past the third baseman. Two runs had already crossed the plate prior to Miller’s base clearing hit.
But the resilient Elida squad who had scored runs in the first five frames rallied for what would be the game winner in the top of the sixth. Elida’s Noah Adcock opened the inning with a walk and that was followed by back-to-back errors by Wapakoneta to load the bases. Luke Berger then delivered a sacrifice fly to right to score Adcock which would would turn out to be the game winner.
Elida’s Josh Howard, who had come in relief in the fifth and had given up the triple to Miller, redeemed himself in the final two frames by throwing scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh. The Elida right hander fanned four of the eight batters he faced.
“Josh Howard has been consistent all spring and summer for us and we got two solid innings from him,” Blymyer said.
Offensively, the Elida bats pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of nine Wapakoneta errors to score runs.
Elida catcher Matt Fish, who proved his worth defensively by gunning down Wapakoneta base stealers, also did the job with the bat by going 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored while driving in a run.
The bottom half of Elida’s lineup, consisting of Brayden Lybarger, Max Parker and Josh Howard, combined to go 7 for 12 with five RBI. Parker went 3 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI and Howard added two hits.
“Matt Fish showed up today and hit the ball well,” Blymyer said.
For Wapakoneta, Miller went 3 for 5 with three RBI and one run scored. Teammate, Jacob Miller went 2 for 5 with two runs and one RBI.
Lima Central Catholic 10, Delphos St. John’s 1
Lima Central Catholic rode the arm of pitcher Derek Jennings to an 11-1 five-inning, run-rule victory over Delphos St. John’s in the second round of the District 5 ACME Sectional tournament winner’s bracket Sunday. LCC will play Wapakoneta at 4 p.m. today in the semifinals.
In his five innings of work, Jennings allowed one hit and struck out eight in quelling the Delphos’ bats. Jennings opened the game with three perfect innings. Jennings’ lone blemish came in the fourth when he gave up his only hit with one out in the fourth to Corey Koverman. Koverman was sacrificed to second and came around to score on a ill-advised through by third baseman Jay Riepenoff that scored Koverman.
“Derek threw a great game,” LCC head coach Neil Ribley said. “I think he was under 80 pitches and threw a lot of strikes and then it gives the defense a chance to play. He kept throwing strikes and didn’t walk anybody and made them earn it.”
Jennings got plenty of run support and he got it early when LCC put three runs on the board in the first inning. Shawn Thomas got things rolling with a towering home run to left center field and the other two runs came thanks to back-to-back doubles by Jennings and Matt Heider and a single from Riepenhoff.
LCC blew the game open when they exploded for seven runs in the fourth when they recorded four hits and three walks. Brayden O’Dell and Rossi Moore had doubles to knock in runs.
For the game, Derek Pignataro went 2 for 2 with one run scored and O’Dell also went 2 for 3 with one run scored and 2 RBI.
“Guys are putting the ball in play and putting the pressure on the defense,” Ribley said.
Ribley added that the win is vital because it keeps the team in the winner’s bracket and it gives him more options in the pitching department.
“This gives us better pitching match ups especially with the new rule,” Ribley said. “So far we’ve been lucky and haven’t used any of our relief pitching so even if something would go wrong Monday it would still leave us with pitching to win the sectional.”
Ottawa-Glandorf 2, Miller City 0
O-G advanced to the Patrick Henry district tournament with a win over Miller City in a sectional title game. Miller City then beat Columbus Grove 17-4 to also earn a district spot.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter @JoseNogueras1