Ohio Spotlight Game: D-IV State Final - #11 Minster vs #21 Russia

Follow @PBR Ohio 

By: Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio

We have the entire OHSAA covered. We have game stories, a scouting notebook, prospect videos, the All-Tournament Team and much more.

Interested in attending a PBR Ohio event? Check out our schedule by clicking here.

To discuss and critique anything Ohio high school baseball wise, visit our partner JJHuddle.

Ohio Spotlight Game: D-IV State final - #11 Minster vs #21 Russia

Niemeyer walkoffCOLUMBUS – The message Minster coach Mike Wiss gave his team before the bottom of the seventh was taken to heart.

“We put our hands in the air and said walkoff,” Wiss said. “That’s how 2012 ended.”

It is how 2017 finished as well thanks to a Jon Niemeyer two-out hit to left to score Jared Huelsman from second base giving the Wildcats a 2-1 victory over Russia in the Division IV championship game on Saturday.

Huelsman reached first with a one-out single in the last of the seventh on a slow chopper to third before moving up on a 5-3 ground out. The left-handed hitting Niemeyer then sliced a shot down the left-field line for the game-winner.

“I told Huels on contact you’re scoring,” Wiss said of the situation. “We stressed hitting oppo (opposite field). Trying to pull it you’re not going to get good wood. Just trust it.”

HeintbrinkIt made a winner of Jack Heitbrink, a sophomore left-hander who permitted five hits and one walk while fanning five in outdueling fellow 10th-grade southpaw Daniel Kearns.

“Neither were overpowering but both were soft enough to surprise batters with the fastball,” Wiss said.

Russia drew first blood in the second when Hunter Cohee led off with a single, advanced on a sac bunt from Kevin Drees and came home on a base hit by Evan Monnier.

The Wildcats tied it at 1-1 in the fourth when Bryce Schmiesing walked, was sacrificed to second by Isaac Dorsten, went to third on a fly out and scored on an Aaron Knapke single to right.

Minster knocked Kearns out of the game in the sixth with a leadoff single from Ben Stubbs, but Jack Dapore came on in relief to end the threat before the Wildcats won it in the seventh.

“The strength of our schedule (which included a 17-6 loss to Russia in game two) is what got us here, then you have to go back to it to get this,” Wiss proudly said holding up the state championship medal.

Hot Takes

Play of the game: With the score tied, Trenton Monnin opened the Russia sixth with a single. Dion Puthoff appeared to move up Monnin with a bunt but the throw to first went off Puthoff tentatively advancing Monnin to third and putting Puthoff on first base. However, Monnin was correctly called for interference sending Monnin back to first. An infield single by Dylan Cordonnier followed and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with two away. But a fly out kept Russia from taking the lead.  

Strong defense: With just seven strikeouts in the game, defense was at a premium starting in the top of the first when Minster’s first hitter Puthoff ripped an apparent gapper to right-center field that was snagged by a diving Russia right fielder Dapore. … In the third, Minster had two on with one down when a line shot nearly took the glove off Kearns on the mound. But the pitcher recovered for a force at third. … In the Russia fourth, a soft liner had a destination of center field before Minster shortstop Isaac Schmiesing dove to his left for an impressive acrobatic catch.

Pitching prevails: Minster pitchers gave up just four runs in winning eight tournament games, with four shutouts combined from Heitbrink and Aaron Ernst (Friday’s 3-0 winner over top-ranked Toronto).

Players of the game: Heitbrink’s five-hit complete game win is hard to argue against but a walk-off hit gives Niemeyer a share of the honor.

Notes: Minster started the season 5-5 only to win 20 of its last 22. Wiss put the blame on himself coming off his first season as girls basketball head coach. … The Wildcats have now claimed three state titles in the past seven years. Only Defiance in D-II and Newark Catholic in D-IV have done better, winning three of the past five. … Seventeen of the 20 Minster varsity members played in the state football finals in December. … Minster has now won 30 team state titles in all sports. … While the towns are the smallest of teams at state, the crowd for the game was the largest of the 12. … Ryan Peltier of Chaminade Julienne, whose team lost in the D-II finals, is a familiar last name in Russia. His dad Jack was a standout player at Russia. … The Raiders have been to state three times and reached the state final on every occasion. Meanwhile, Minster now has a 6-0 record at Huntington Park.

What’s next?: All three pitchers that went on the mound at state are back for Russia next season along with three other starters. As for Minster, Wiss laughed off the word dynasty in the media interview, pointing out the 2018 squad will be without 10 seniors from this year’s championship squad.


Russia     010 000 0 - 1 5 0
Minster    000 100 1 - 2 4 1

Records: Minster 25-7, Russia 24-7.

Winning Pitcher: Jack Heintbrink (7 innings, 1 run, 1 earned, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Losing Pitcher: Jack Dapore (1.2 innings, 1 run, 1 earned, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 0 walks). Other: Daniel Kearns.

Leading Hitters: (Minster) - Jon Niemeyer single; Ben Stubbs single; Adam Knapke single; Jared Huelsman single. (Russia) - Dylan Cordonnier single; Hunter Cohee 2 singles; Evan Monnier single; Trenton Monnin single.