HAMLER — Wapakoneta’s pitching has garnered a lot attention this year and deservedly so but it was the Wapakoneta bats that carried the Redskins to 12-5 win against Bryan in the Division II district semifinals Thursday.
With the win Wapakoneta (20-1) will face Maumee, an 8-5 winner against Bowling Green, at Patrick Henry High School at 1 p.m. Saturday. Bryan ends its year with a 19-5 mark.
“The offense has been really good for us all year,” Redskin head coach Jason Brandt said. “We did a fantastic job laying off balls today. “
Bryan head coach Jeff Inselmann said his team was beaten by a stronger, more experienced squad.
“They are good and we knew that coming in,” the Golden Bear skipper said. “We made too many mistake pitches and left a lot middle in and they made us pay and that is the sign of a good team.”
The Redskins exploded for 13 hits and Wapakoneta erased a three-run deficit in the third inning that really turned the game around. For the season, Wapakoneta has only given up five runs or more once this season.
Down 5-2, after Bryan took advantage of an error that opened the inning followed by a sacrifice and an uncharacteristic walk, hit bats man and another base on balls by starter Manny Vorhees that led to a run and kept the bases loaded. Back-to-back doubles by Logan Clemens and Brooks Brown brought home four more runs.
But the big Bryan inning only seemed to motivate the Redskins who would put up four more in the bottom of the frame to regain the lead, 6-5. In that frame, Redskin Vorhees and Wyatt Moyler drew walks to open the inning and when Mitch Apple was hit with a pitch the bases were loaded. Bubba Miller brought home a run on a sacrifice fly and then A.J. Campos came up with a clutch two-out single to plate two more runs to tie the game at 5-5.
Campos would come home all the way from first and give the Redskins the lead when Jett Maker hit a soft grounder in the infield and the throw to first was high and Maker ducked underneath the tag. As this was going on Campos never stopped running and scored the go-ahead run.
“We could have rolled over when they got five there but then we got some back and continued to pound from there,” Brandt said. “We have a very level-headed team. We have 10 seniors on the team. Wyatt (Moyler) came and said ‘this isn’t anything and we will come back and get the job done’ and that is exactly what they did.”
The Redskins plated three more in the sixth highlighted by an Apple home run and another key hit from Vorhees and three more in the sixth when Gage Schenk delivered a a bases-clearing double.
Speaking of Schenk, he provided the necessary pitching in relief to help shut the door on Bryan. Schenk, who relieved Voorhees in the third, pitched the next four and two-thirds inning of shutout ball. The Redskin righty fanned four and walked one. Schenk nearly finished the game out but after loading the bases with two outs in the seventh, Brandt opted for Don Goodes to record the final out.
Brandt said it was a great pitching effort by Schenk and added he took him out in hopes of using him Saturday because of Wapakoneta’s depleted pitching corps that has seen injuries to Voorhees and Joel Roediger who is done for the season.
“We lost our top two guys basically this week,” Brandt said. “We have him (Schenk) saved just in case for Saturday but we are going to have other guys step up and pitch for us Saturday. Like I said it is next man up in our stable and they better be ready.”
Brandt added Vorhees, who is hampered with a sore shoulder, could also throw if he feels he is up to the task.
At the plate, Goodes went 3 for 4 with two RBI and one run scored and Voorhees went 2 for 3 with three runs scored and two RBI. Apple went 2 for 3 including a home run, two RBI and three runs scored and Schenk went 2 for 3 with two RBI.