BOWLING GREEN – There were eight walks and one hit.
That was the Wapakoneta rally in the eighth inning, thanks to some off-target pitching by three Ontario pitchers.
When the dust had cleared, Wapakoneta scored six runs in the eighth to notch an 11-5 eight-inning win over Ontario in the Division II baseball regional championship game Sunday at Bowling Green’s Carter Park.
“The top of the eighth was unbelievable,” Wapakoneta coach Jason Brandt said. “It was walks galore and we had the take (sign) on to make them throw a strike and they couldn’t do it. … It was crazy.’’
It marks Wapakoneta’s second trip to the baseball state tournament. The Redskins were Division II state runner-up in 2012.
Wapakoneta (23-1) will meet Circleville (19-10) in the state semifinals at 4 p.m. Friday at Columbus Clippers’ Huntington Park. Ontario ended its year 25-4.
“I’m going to be excited for it,” Wapakoneta center fielder/pitcher Don Goodes said.
Added Wapakoneta right-hander Manny Vorhees, “This is incredible. There’s no better feeling than this right now.’’
Vorhees picked up the win with two shutout, no-hit innings of relief. He struck three and walked two.
It was the first action for Vorhees since the district semifinals when he suffered soreness in his right shoulder.
“He (coach Brandt) asked me if I was good and I said, ‘Heck yeah, I’m good. I went in and got the job done,” Vorhees said. “They were a great team so I threw a lot of breaking balls. You couldn’t throw them too many fastballs down the middle.’’
Ontario scored two in the home seventh to tie the game at 5.
Then, came the inning with eight walks, two of them intentional.
Jett Makar opened the top of the eighth for Wapakoneta with a walk. He took second on a wild pitch.
With one out, Goodes was walked intentionally. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.
At that point, Vorhees was walked intentionally to load the bases for Wapakoneta.
Ontario reliever Luke Smith then walked Wyatt Moyler with the bases loaded to give the Redskins the lead to stay 6-5.
With the count 3-0 to Mitch Apple, Avery Fisher moved from shortstop to pitcher.
Fisher walked Apple with the bases loaded to force in a run and it was 7-5.
Fisher then walked Bubba Miller to force in another run and it was 8-5.
Damarius Taylor was next out of the Ontario bullpen.
Taylor walked Gage Schenk with the bags still filled and it was 9-5.
That marked four straight walks with the bases loaded and four straight walk RBI.
A.J. Campos then singled to deep short to bring in a run and it was 10-5.
Joel Roediger walked with the bases loaded and it was 11-5.
In all, five of the six runs scored in the eighth came via walks with the bags filled.
Brady Erb started for Wapakoneta and went 3 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs, all earned, on six hits. He struck out two and walked three.
Goodes came on next and had good velocity and movement on his fastball. He came on in the fourth and retired seven batters in a row.
“I was trying to get ahead and let the defense work,” Goodes said. “I felt comfortable.’’
Added Brandt, “He (Goodes) bulldogged for us on the mound and he hasn’t had to throw a lot for us this year. But we battled injuries to some of our top pitchers and this is gutty, gutty team and a gutty, gutty performance, but just not by Don, but by the whole group of guys.’’
Goodes walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh with the Redskins holding a 5-3 lead.
Ontario got within 5-4 when Griffin Shaver scored from third on a wild pitch.
Smith’s RBI ground out to short tied the game at 5.
Goodes went 2 2/3 innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on no hits. He struck four and walked two.
For Wapakoneta, Goodes went 1 for 3 with three walks.
Moyler was 1 for 2 with three walks and two RBI.
Campos went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI.
Ohio State-bound Ontario shortstop Fisher went 2 for 4. Noah Creed was 2 for 3 with two RBI.
Ontario led 3-2 after three innings.
Makar’s sacrifice fly in the fourth tied the game at 3.
Wapakoneta scored two in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead.
Wapakoneta catcher Makar was impressed with the way Goodes and Vorhees threw.
“Don threw phenomenal,” he said. “He came in clutch for us. That was the hardest I’ve seen him throw all year. And once Manny started throwing strikes in his warmups, I felt we had it.’’