GREENVILLE — Minster has the pitching-hitting combo that has frustrated most opponents this season and vaulted the team to the top of the Division IV state coaches association rankings. And when one component isn’t firing at full strength, it’s easier to deal with if the other still is.
Minster senior pitcher Jenna Poeppelman was hit more than usual by Felicity-Franklin in a D-IV regional semifinal on Wednesday. But the Wildcats countered by hitting more than usual, took control early and cruised to a 15-6 victory at Stebbins Field in Greenville
Minster (27-1) will try to earn its first state berth since 2014 on Saturday in Greenville when it faces Mechanicsburg, which beat National Trail 10-3 in Wednesday’s second regional semifinal.
Poeppelman was named first team all-state by the Ohio softball coaches association last week and largely dominated in regular season by posting a 1.11 ERA in over 100 innings of work with 153 strikeouts.
The Cardinals gave Poeppelman more of a workout on Wednesday. They gathered nine hits — including two home runs by Reagan Lowe — and sent many more balls to the outfield that Minster was able to snag.
But Minster’s hitting made Felicity-Franklin’s seem pedestrian by comparison. The Wildcats blasted pitchers Bailee Caudill and Reagan Lowe for 20 hits, including home runs by Taylor Homan, Jenna Poeppelman and Kaitlyn Wolf.
“We were seeing it well off both pitchers, and this time of year, you’ve got to hit the ball and play defense,” Minster coach Robb Hemmelgarn said. “Anybody in our lineup, I don’t care if you’re batting No. 1 or batting No. 9, you have the potential to be the hero.”
Poeppelman pitched a complete game and had five walks and two strikeouts. All six of Felicity-Franklin’s runs were earned.
“That’s not characteristic of her, but we responded, our defense responded and our offense responded,” Hemmelgarn said. “She’s going to see that, teams that are a lot more disciplined at the plate. She needs to learn something from tonight and make herself better.”
Homan blasted a home run about 10 yards over Greenville’s 200-foot fence in the first inning, but Lowe hit the first of her home runs in the bottom half to tie it at 1-1.
Minster took control in the second by scoring five runs on four hits and a walk. The Cardinals had a costly error when left fielder A Woodmansee let a line drive by Homan bounce off her glove and land roll behind her after landing. Three runs scored on the error.
The Wildcats scored six runs on six hits in the third to boost the lead to 12-1. Felicity-Franklin staved off any threat of a run-rule by scoring three runs on two hits and a walk in the bottom half. All runs scored when Lowe hit a home run on a line drive to center field.
“That’s what we’ve wanted to do all season, get on top early,” Hemmelgarn said.
The Cardinals added two runs on two hits and two walks in the fifth to pull within 12-6.
Neither team scored again the Wildcats added three runs on five hits in the seventh. The runs were scored when Poeppelman hit a two-run home run to center field and Kaitlyn Wolf followed with a solo home run to left.
“We told them that they were going to throw punches at you, and from watching them Saturday, we knew they were a team that has fight in them,” Hemmelgarn said. “We knew if we got up on them they were going to come back, and they did. The key was to deliver that next punch, and we did it.
“… When they trimmed it to 12-6, we started tensing up a little bit. It just seemed like we were playing a little more conservative.
Laney Hemmelgarn finished 5 for 5 for Minster. Homan was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and four runs and Poeppelman was 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs and Stubbs was 3 for 5 with two runs. Lindsey Albers and Mara Schmiesing each had two hits apiece. Stubbs is the No. 7 hitter in the team’s lineup while Hemmelgarn is the No. 8 hitter.
Now the Wildcats will look for their second regional title in program history on Saturday. Hemmelgarn said the team will have a challenge against Mechanicsburg, which improved to 19-3 on Wednesday.
The Indians were ranked No. 3 in D-IV in the final state poll and have a .413 team batting average. They’re led in pitching circle by Francys King, who entered Wednesday with a 1.42 ERA after striking out 124 batters in 93 2/3 innings.
Crestview 4, Gibsonburg 3
FINDLAY — Crestview scored three runs in the top of the seventh to grab the win. The Knights will play Antwerp at the Findlay Marathon Fields Saturday at noon. Kali Small picked up the win on the mound going the distance and scattering five hits while walking four and fanning seven. At the plate, Avery McCoy and Bailey Gregory both had a hit and an RBI and Small had two hits while teammate Codi Miller had two hits and drove in two runs.
Schaadt tabbed as top NWC player
Junior Libby Schaadt, a pitcher from Bluffton was named Player of the Year by the Northwest Conference softball coaches. Schaadt edged out senior teammate Averey Rumer in a close vote. Junior Alexis Gregory of Crestview finished third in the balloting.
Schaadt finished the season with a record of 18-2 while striking out 177 batters in 132 innings pitched. Her era for the year was 1.80. At the plate, Schaadt hit for a .477 average with 7 home runs.
Bluffton coach Tony Rumer was a unanimous selection for Coach of the Year in voting by his peers. Rumer led the Pirates to an 8-0 league record and the school’s first league championship in softball. Crestview (7-1) finished in the runner-up spot in the league.
Youtsey named top NWC player
Senior Jaden Youtsey, a shortstop/pitcher from Lincolnview was named Player of the Year by the Northwest Conference baseball coaches. Youtsey received 193 out of a possible 200 points in the balloting. Paulding senior Westen Philpot finished second in the balloting with Columbus Grove senior Nick Woods finishing third.
Paulding coach Travis McGarvey was voted Coach of the Year at the all-conference selection meeting Monday evening in Delphos. McGarvey led the Panthers to an 8-0 conference mark in achieving Paulding’s 15th conference baseball championship. Eric Fishpaw of Lincolnview and Eric Naughton of Columbus Grove also received mention in the coach of the year balloting.
Youtsey hit .560 in eight conference games while compiling a .544 batting average with 27 rbi’s and 18 stolen bases in all games played this spring. For the season, Youtsey compiled a 4-0 won/loss record and an era of 0.00 when on the mound.
SIDNEY — Carolyn Dammeyer has been selected as the new varsity head coach for Lehman Catholic High School. Dammeyer, who has served as the head coach at Delphos St. John’s since 2013, succeeds Greg Snipes. Snipes retired in March 2019 after leading the Cavaliers for 23 years.
Prior to coaching at St. John’s, Dammeyer served more than eight years a coach at Celina and more than 13 years at St. Marys. She is a lifetime member of the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association.
I am very pleased,” Dammeyer said in a news release. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with a great program of kids, parents, a wonderful school system, and community.
“Coach Dammeyer has a passion for volleyball and a clear vision for mentoring young ladies through the sport she loves,” Athletic Director Richard Roll said. “She possesses a great deal of knowledge and experience which will serve her well as she transitions to her new role as the leader of our volleyball program.”
Lima Senior athletic fundraiser
Lima Senior Athletics is partnering with Reineke Ford Lincoln of Lima to raise money for the district’s athletics programs.
Driven to Give is a way to support Lima Senior Athletics while test driving a MKZ, Continental, MKC, Nautilus or Navigator. Lincoln Motor Company will donate $20 for every test dive.
The event is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. June 1, at the dealership located at 1360 Greely Chapel Road. People age 18 and over can come anytime to test drive a vehicle.
There will also be a chicken dinner, bake sale and car wash happening throughout the day, all benefiting Lima Senior Athletics.