Fri May 18, 2012
By Matthew Lee
BLUFFTON - In Bluffton’s district semi-finals, Lima Shawnee squared off against No. 3 Bellevue.
Bellevue struck in the bottom of the first inning against one of the state’s top pitchers in junior Cory Wilder. Wilder’s fastball has been gunned at 91 mph this year. After a one-out walk, junior Alex Manner singled to drive in the game's first run.
In the top of the second Shawnee tied the score 1-1. With junior ace, Dalton Jarvis on the mound, senior Trey Runneals led off with a single. After a pop up, junior Casey Mulcahy drilled a ball into the gap to drive in Runneals.
Not to be out done, Bellevue struck again in the bottom of the third. Senior Shane Iannello was hit by a Wilder fast ball. Manner then went opposite field with a double down the left field line to drive in Iannello and make it a 2-1 game.
In the top of the fifth, with Bellevue clinging to a 2-1 lead, Shawnee put the first two hitters on. Wilder walked and junior Tyler Anderson (Bowling Green recruit) was hit by Jarvis. Jarvis then struck out Runneals and was able to get Kleffner to ground into a force out that left runners on the corner. Feeling the need to stop the threat, Bellevue called upon Manner, a hard throwing righty, to come into the game and pitch. After walking the next batter to load the base, Manner reached back and blew away junior Zach Bailey with a fastball that popped 87 mph on the gun to get out of the inning.
Bellevue put the game away in the bottom half of the inning. Wilder gave up three singles to Stamm, Raifsnider, and Dudek to make it a 4-1 game and chase Wilder from the game. Wilder’s fastball consistently was 86-88 mph but struggled with control and fell behind several hitters. He punched out five but walked six. He was also victimized by several passed balls.
Mucahy was called upon to come in and slow down Bellevue. He gave up consecutive singles to junior Jake Smith and senior Ryan Geary to make it a 5-1 game. After a fly ball to center to record the second out, Manner reached on an error, senior Matt Sieger had an RBI single, Stamm reached on an error by Wilder, who was now playing shortstop, and back to back walks to force in runs. When the dust settled Bellevue had scored seven runs to make it 9-1.
After Manner retired Shawnee in order in the sixth, two on punch outs, Shawnee put together a threat in the top of the 7th. With the game all but settled, Bellevue replaced Manner on the mound with Smith. He struggled slightly walking two batters. He then was able to record the first out with a ground ball to force the runner at third base. With runners on first and second, Kleffner hit a routine double play ball to Stamm at second base, but he misplayed the ball, which allowed the runner to score from second and make it 9-2, which was the final score.
Jarvis picked up the victory, going 4 and 2/3 innings. He wasn’t perfect, giving up only one run on four hits while walking four and striking out five. He did a good job mixing his off-speed pitches well with his 83-85 mph fastball. Bellevue moves on to what should be a great final against Wapakoneta Saturday at Bluffton University.