ELIDA – The Thursday Division III district semi-final at Ed Sandy Field between Lima Central Catholic and Coldwater was a pitchers’ duel down to the end.
Right hander Dylan Thobe finished off a gem by getting a pop-up and recording a strike-out with the bases loaded to pace the Cavaliers to a 2-0 win and a trip to the district finals on Saturday at 1 p.m. back at Elida where they will face Ottawa-Glandorf. The Titans beat Spencerville 2-0 in the first game of play Thursday.
Coldwater jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when they scored an unearned run when Brad Giere, who had singled, scored from second base as the Thunderbird left side of the infield misplayed a fly ball and Giere raced around to score.
Thobe gave up a first inning lead-off single to Anthony Venturella who was erased thanks to a nifty 6-4-3 double play. Thobe proceeded to retire the T-Birds one-two-three over four of the next five innings, the only LCC runner reaching base in the fourth inning on an infield error by Coldwater.
Tough luck losing pitcher Dru Smith was sailing along until he threw his only bad pitch of the game and Ryan Knapke ripped it over the left field fence for a home-run to put the Cavaliers up 2-0 after five innings of play.
“It was a fastball inside and I knew about half way to first that it was gone,” Knapke said of his first home run of the year. “I let a first pitch curve ball go and was looking for a fastball.”
Thobe retired the first LCC batter in the seventh inning before designated hitter Matthew Heider singled for only the T-Birds second hit. The Cavaliers then made it interesting by making back to back errors on infield ground balls and LCC suddenly had the bases loaded with only out.
But Thobe settled down and retired the next two T-Bird batters on a pop-up to the mound and a swinging strike out to end the game.
“I felt really good and tried to give my team mates chances to make plays.” Thobe said. “I threw mostly fastballs but mixed up a two seam and four seam and that seemed to keep them off balance.”
Coldwater coach Brian Harlamert was pleased with the effort by Thobe.
“He was very sharp and very dominant; it seems like 16 or 17 of our 19 wins have been like that, we have to grind after we gave them chances.” Harlamert said. “That second run was a big insurance run and came on a great swing by Knapke. Hats off to LCC but now we have a chance to get back to the regionals.”
LCC coach John Schnieders lamented a season long lack of offense.
“We certainly didn’t do a lot with the bats; we just couldn’t square up on Thobe.” Schnieders said. “We kept battling and never quit. Dru Smith is a hidden gem, he is a good, crafty left handed pitcher and we look forward to having him back again next season.”
Thobe tossed only 86 pitches in the game, 60 of them for strikes. He issued no walks and struck out four LCC hitters.