COLDWATER — Van Wert starting pitcher Owen Treece worked his way out of a few jams against Minster in Saturday’s quarterfinal baseball game of the ACME State Tournament at Coldwater.
Unfortunately, there was one inning Treece could not get out of unscathed.
Minster’s three-run fourth proved to be the difference as the Wildcats slipped past Van Wert, 5-3, at Veterans Field.
For the game, Minster left nine base runners stranded.
Treece repeatedly kept finding ways to stave off Minster rallies.
However, in the fourth, Minster tallied three runs on four base hits to pull out to a 5-1 lead, which Van Wert could not fully recover from.
With the win, Minster (13-4) will face Archbold at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in a semifinal. The winner of that matchup will stamp its ticket for Monday’s championship game. Archbold defeated Troy 9-4, in a quarterfinal Saturday.
The ACME State Tournament is an eight-team tournament with a single-elimination format.
“It took us a little bit,” Minster coach Jay Eilerman said. “He (Treece) started off really well. We were a little behind there, but we caught up and started to get some hits. (The fifth inning) really opened it up for us. It gave us confidence again.”
On the day, Minster pounded nine hits off Treece. Treece, a junior, went the distance on the mound, striking out seven, walking three and hitting a batter. He threw 99 pitches.
At the plate, Treece went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Parker Conrad also had a two-hit day for Van Wert. Teammate Keaton Brown had a triple.
“Owen (Treece) pitched a good game. He did really well,” Van Wert coach Ivan Maples said. “He kept them off balance there for a while.”
Ethan Lehmkuhl got the starting nod on the mound for Minster. The senior right-hander worked six innings before being lifted in the seventh for Jack Olberding.
Lehmkuhl gave up three runs on six hits, while striking out four and walking three. Lehmkuhl threw 83 pitches in his six innings of work.
Olberding, a senior left-hander, closed the door on Van Wert in the seventh. He struck out two of the four batters he faced.
Coach Eilerman pointed to the first inning as a key point in the game for his squad.
“Ethan (Lehmkuhl) really bore down right there (in first inning),” Eilerman said. “With him leaving those guys on (base), that kind of stopped the bleeding. Then, we got a couple back, a few innings later.”
Van Wert scored a run in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Treece and Conrad each had singles in the first. Then, an error on a ground ball hit by Turner Witten brought Treece around to score.
After the first, Lehmkuhl was pretty effective, retiring the side in order in the second and fourth innings. For the game, Van Wert left seven base runners stranded.
Minster scored two runs in the third on two hits, to take a 2-1 lead. Olberding (3 for 4, RBI) had a double, while Austin Brown had an RBI single.
In the big fourth for Minster, Olberding and Brown each had RBI singles. Trent Roetgerman had an RBI double.
Van Wert tacked on a run in both the fifth and sixth innings.
“I think the most frustrating part is knowing the plays that we could have made, we didn’t make,” Maples said. “But they stayed in there. They hit the ball. They stayed in the game. We scored a couple runs. Keaton Brown had a nice triple there and we scored him. There were a couple opportunities that we missed there with runners in scoring position; and that always hurts you against a really good team.
“We talked about this last week. …. We made a few mistakes on defense. We all know that Minster is a good team. If you make mistakes, then they will capitalize; and that’s what they did,” Maples added.
Eilerman is feeling pretty good about his team’s chances.
“We did what we had to do, today,” Eilerman said. “We’re going to see a good Archbold team tomorrow, and we’ll try to do the same thing — have good pitching, good defense and good hitting; and we will see what we can do.
“We can have Jack (Olberding) back tomorrow (Sunday). So, it sets us up pretty good for tomorrow. We can use pretty much anybody (to pitch) that we want. It gives us a lot of options.”
Anthony Wayne 9, Coldwater 3
COLDWATER — Will Broering had two hits and two RBI, Jake Hemmelgarn had two hits and drove in a run and Myles Blasingame had a pair of hits for Coldwater. Anthony Wayne will play Bryan, a 12-4 winner against West-Liberty Salem, in a 5 p.m. semifinal Sunday in Coldwater.