ELIDA – Ottawa-Glandorf’s young baseball team entered the tournament part of its schedule as a No. 9 seed and left it with two wins over higher seeded teams, some valuable experience and maybe a little extra confidence for next season.
But a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning by No. 2 seed Liberty-Benton that gave the Eagles a 5-4 win over O-G in a district semifinal on Thursday at Elida ended the Titans’ string of postseason upsets.
Liberty-Benton (21-5) will play Coldwater (22-6) at noon Saturday at Elida for the district championship. The Cavaliers run-ruled Fort Recovery 11-1 in Thursday’s other semifinal.
“That was a good high school baseball game, back and forth all day. Both teams had ample opportunities to score more runs. They found a way to score one more than us today,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach Nick Miller said.
“We had all the momentum going our way and they found a way to get two (runs) across in the seventh inning,” he said.
Ottawa-Glandorf took the lead twice in the game but both times Liberty-Benton responded.
O-G went up 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning on a single by Trey Nienberg and back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Ethan Alt and Logan Miller.
But Liberty-Benton scored twice in the bottom of the inning to tie the game again.
The Titans went in front 4-3 in the top of the seventh when Miller, who went 3 for 4 on the day, singled, stole second base and scored on a single by Trevor Schimmoeller.
In the bottom of that inning, Liberty-Benton loaded the bases on an infield single, a bunt hit and another infield single.
Then Anthony Wolford drew a walk to tie the game and Race Gorrell, who was the winning pitcher in three innings as a reliever, singled to send the Eagles into the district championship game.
“We had chances multiple times and they played great defense, they pitched well, they got out of a lot of jams. We finally got it in the last inning,” Liberty-Benton coach Matt Rader said.
O-G had only one senior on its roster and started seven juniors and two sophomores on Thursday. The three pitchers it used were a sophomore, a freshman and a sophomore.
In Thursday’s first semifinal, Coldwater scored five runs in the first inning to set the tone early against fellow Midwest Athletic Conference team Fort Recovery.
The Cavaliers sent 10 players to the plate in the first inning. Cole Frilling’s two-run double was the big hit in that inning.
A pair of three-run home runs by leadoff hitter Austin Riethman delivered the rest of Coldwater’s runs.
The first came in the third inning to give Coldwater an 8-1 lead and the other ended the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Ross Weigel went 3 for 3 for the Cavaliers. Fort Recovery’s Cobe Wendel had two hits in three at bats.
“The team came prepared to play,” Coldwater coach Brian Harlamert said. “And then you get a good start at the beginning of the game from your starter Jacob Wenning and you get five runs in the first inning and a lot of guys relaxed and played good baseball.”