GLANDORF – There was never a moment of hesitation whether or not to send the runner home with the potential tying run. Lima Central Catholic coach John Schnieders was sending Luke Baumgartner all the way.
Ottawa Glandorf center fielder Tyler Zender threw a one-hop bullet to catcher Ben Dietering who put the tag on Baumgartner for the final out that gave the Titans a 1-0 win in Division III sectional action at Glandorf on Saturday afternoon.
“This is a game of chance and bounces,” Schnieders said. “We had to take a shot. We had one chance to score, and their best player made a play.”
In a game that was played more like a district or regional contest than a sectional opener, the two teams rode strong pitching performances to the nail-biting finish.
O-G starter Tanner Schimoeller was working on a no-hitter entering the fifth inning. Baumgartner led off for the Thunderbirds and lofted a pop fly between Schimoeller and first baseman Andrew Wischmeyer. Schimoeller had to dive to get out of the way but Wischmeyer’s knee appeared to strike the O-G pitcher in the head.
Schimoeller lay unmoving while trainers attended to him. He was helped off the field and his day was over.
“The pre-determined diagnosis is a concussion, O-G coach Nick Miller said. “He will have to go through the OHSAA regulations before he can play again.”
The Titans brought in Matt Warnecke to relieve Schimoeller, and Warnecke retired the next two LCC batters to get out of the inning.
“Warnecke came in and threw strikes and got us out of the inning.” Miller said.
The Titans had struck first in the third inning when shortstop Brad Croy singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by designated hitter Austin Williams.
“He (LCC starting pitcher Colin Stolly) had a very good curve ball but I hit a fastball and the run scored.” Williams said. “We wanted to get the win for Tanner.”
Stolly was outstanding on the mound for the T-Birds, and LCC broke up the no-hitter when Bitler Rumer singled in the sixth inning with two outs, only to be stranded when Warnecke struck out the next LCC batter. Stolly threw 53 of his 76 pitches for strikes in the game.
Warnecke then went on to retire the first two LCC hitters in the seventh inning before the T-Birds decided to make a game of it.
Baumgartner reached on an error — the only error by either team in the game — and Drew Jettinghoff singled to center field and suddenly the T-Birds had a runner in scoring position.
Liam Stolly stroked a solid single to center and Baumgartner was headed around third attempting to score when Zender’s throw cut him down at the plate and gave the Titans the win.
“It was an absolutely great game; that was four years in a row with us and O-G.” Schnieders said. “That run they got early kind of took the wind out of our sails because we wanted to get the lead. I’m so proud of this team and how much they have improved the last three weeks.”
“We knew coming in this wasn’t going to be your typical opening tournament game,” Miller said. “Stolly was tough on us with his breaking ball but we have been in numerous one-run games this year and that one-hop throw allows us to go on.”
O-G moves on and will play at home against Bluffton at 5 p.m. Thursday.