COLUMBUS — The high point and the low point of the game and of the season were separated by only a few minutes for Wapakoneta in the Division II baseball state championship game against Dayton Chaminade-Julienne on Saturday night at Huntington Park.
When the Redskins (24-2) broke up a scoreless game by getting the first run by either team in the bottom of the sixth inning, a state title looked very close.
But just a few minutes later, they were watching Chaminade-Julienne (24-5) celebrate a 3-1 victory and a state championship.
Wapakoneta got its run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Don Goodes singled, stole second, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
In the top of the seventh inning, Chaminade-Julienne scored three runs on four walks, a throwing error and a two-run single by clean-up hitter Nick Gongora to go up 3-1 and eventually claim the state title after being Division II state runner-up last year.
“It was just a great game. It’s what you expect when you get to a finals. Their pitcher was dealing all night,” Wapakoneta coach Jason Brandt said. “We did not swing the bats as well as we did all year but a lot of that is a credit to him.
“We just didn’t get the job done, we didn’t execute a few things but that’s baseball. I’m proud of every one of our guys. They gave it everything they’ve had for the last four years.”
Chaminade-Julienne pitcher Nick Wissman limited Wapakoneta to four hits and two of those were in the first inning. He struck out nine and walked two.
“He was very efficient, getting ahead in the count and his off-speed pitches were working really well,” Chaminade-Julienne coach Mike Barhorst said.
Senior right-hander Joel Roediger, once believed to be out for the rest of the season because of arm trouble, got the start for the Redskins.
Roediger exited the game after two innings and was replaced by Manny Vorhees at the start of the third inning. Roediger allowed two hits, struck out two and walked one.
Vorhees allowed only one hit in five innings but, combined with the walks and the error, it was a game-changing hit.
Both teams threatened early but then both offenses went quiet until late in the game.
Chaminade-Julienne loaded the bases against Roediger with two out in the first inning after two walks and a single by Ryan Peltier, but the senior right-hander got out of trouble by getting David Ernst to ground out to second base.
Wapakoneta put together a threat of its own in the first inning when singles by Don Goodes and Wyatt Moyler put runners on first and second and a wild pitch moved them to second and third with one out. But Wissman escaped without giving up a run.
After that tough first inning, Wissman faced only 12 batters over the next four innings, with the help of catcher Ben Thomas throwing out Roediger as he attempted to steal second base in the third inning and picking Bubba Miller off at second base in the fourth inning.
In the top of the fifth, C-J put runners on first and second with one out. But Vorhees struck out Peltier, probably the most dangerous hitter in the Eagles’ lineup, then got A.J. Solomon on a strikeout, too.
This was Wapakoneta’s second time as state runner-up in the last seven seasons. It also was runner-up in 2012.