WAPAKONETA – If the rankings ever mattered, their presence as a factor disappeared one inning into Wapakoneta’s 10-4 high school baseball win over Coldwater on Monday.
The Redskins (18-0) came into the game ranked No. 1 in Division II in the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association poll and the Cavaliers (17-5) were No. 3 in Division III.
Coldwater scored first, getting a run in the top of the first inning. But Wapakoneta answered with five runs in the bottom of that inning and was in control the rest of the way.
Both teams played to win, obviously, but they also used the game as an opportunity to prepare for the postseason.
Coldwater used five pitchers and Wapakoneta sent two relievers to the mound after starter Gage Schenk held the Cavaliers to one hit in four innings and struck out seven.
Wapakoneta coach Jason Brandt called his team’s No. 1 ranking “a great accomplisment for the regular season,” but said his team might have learned a good reason to hold rankings at arm’s length last season when it was also ranked No. 1.
“It happened last year, too, and we saw where it left us. We finished district runner-up. It’s a great accomplisment for the regular season, don’t get me wrong. But the ultimate goal is to be there at the end of the season.
“It (being ranked No. 1) is a tribute to how well these kids have played all season and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said.
Coldwater coach Brian Harlamert said, “We didn’t come out with a lot of fight early but I wouldn’t say we were worried about the state rankings. We’re both good teams. We just didn’t play a great first inning.
“This game accomplished some things for us. We wanted to be able to face live pitching, good pitching, after being off since Friday. We did that. No. 2, we wanted our pitchers to get out there and throw again. The first and third pitchers we used were our No. 1 and No. 2. We wanted to them to get one or two innings against a good team and we got that.
“We wanted to accomplish something for our postseason run. That was our goal today win or lose,” Harlamert said.
Mitch Apple, Bubba Miller and Joel Roediger all had two hits for Wapakoneta, which finished with 10 hits. The Redskins struck out only twice in 34 at bats in Monday’s game.
“Our guys have done a good job all year just attacking strikes. We’ve had a good approach from the get-go,” Brandt said.
“We definitely did not play our best defensively today. We made some really nice plays but we had some routine plays that we have to get better at. There are a couple things I wasn’t pleased with. We had a couple guys not running out balls. But we’ll get better and go from there.
“You always have to find something to work on,” he said.