Sun May 20, 2012
By Matthew Lee
BLUFFTON- The district finals featured the Bellevue Redmen (23-6) against the Wapakoneta Redskins (22-5). Both teams reached the championship after convincing semi- finals victories.
Both teams used hard-throwing righty’s whose fastball consistently are in the mid-80’s. Bellevue started junior Alex Manner and Wapakoneta went with sophomore Chase Culver.
The Redmen struck first in the top of the 1st inning. Three consecutive singles started the game against Culver. Senior Ryan Geary led off the game with a line drive single. Senior Shane Iannello followed with a single of his own to put the first two batters on base against Culver. Manner decided to get in on the action and lined the third straight hit to knock in Geary and make it 1-0. Iannello and Manner advanced on the throw to the plate.
With runners on second and third and no outs, Culver kept his composure. He was able to get senior Matt Siegar to pop up to second base with the first out of the game. Junior Trent Stamm then hit a fly ball to right for the second out. Iannello tagged at third base and Hines fired a bullet to the plate to gun down Iannello and Culver escaped with allowing the one lone run.
In the bottom of the first, the Redskins came right back with a rally of their own. Taking advantage of Manner’s wildness, junior Alex Koch drew a walk after running the count full. Junior Josh Apple, again with a full count jumped on a fastball and hit it to the fence in left. Junior Johnny Crawford was then pegged with a fastball to load the bases with no outs.
Manner was able to strike out Miller but walked junior Brandon Schreiber to force in Koch from third and tie the game 1-1. Junior Marshall Gerlack hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Apple and make it 2-1. Manner struggled to find the strike zone and ended the inning with a pitch count of 39.
In the bottom of the third, Wapakoneta struck again to make it 3-1. Schreiber led the frame off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by a Gerlack bunt. After a strike out, Hines laced a single to knock in Schreiber. Manner left the game after three innings with a pitch count of 85 pitches.
With junior Ethan Hartley now on the mound for Bellevue in the bottom of the 4th, Koch led off with a base hit. Apple then bunted perfectly in front of the plate and beat the throw to 1st. The throw got by Siegar at first and the runners moved up 90 feet. Miller promptly hit a fly ball that was deep enough to score Koch and give Wapakoneta a 4-1 lead.
That was the scoring that Culver needed. Having given up three hits in the 1st inning, he settled down and gave up a double in the 2nd and a single in the 4th. He got stronger as the game went. His fastball stayed 84-85 and had great control of his breaking ball to keep Bellevue off balanced. Culver worked all seven innings allowing the five hits, striking out six and did not walk a batter. He did hit a batter.
Wapakoneta moves on to the Tiffin regional next Thursday to face Parma Padua Franciscan.