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ST. HENRY — Minster’s foray into Friday night extra innings produced a happier ending this time thanks to a pair of home runs and a relief appearance from Austin Knapke that had the length of a start.
A week after losing in 15 innings in a Midwest Athletic Conference contest at Coldwater, Minster emerged with a win from a double-digit inning affair against another Mercer County MAC foe.
On a day Minster (19-5, 6-2 MAC) otherwise struggled to hit the ball, it was a pair of home runs that got the job done.
Drew Elson hit a game-tying solo home run in the top of the sixth and Adam Niemeyer slugged a game-winning solo shot in to the top of the 11th inning in Minster’s 4-3 win over St. Henry at the Wally Post Athletic Complex on Friday night.
Minster’s penchant for playing one-run games and relying on its pitching staff to hold other teams at bay this season continued.
“I’m tired of this,” Minster head coach Mike Wiss said, playfully throwing the papers in his hand into the ground while laughing. “But that took a lot of guts...This group has a lot of tenacity.”
Wiss isn’t sick of seeing his pitching staff keep his squad in all these games while the offense tries to find the swing of things.
Minster’s Austin Knapke delivered a strong performance out of the bullpen, working the game’s final six innings without giving up a run.
“Wow,” Wiss said. “I thought Austin Knapke came in and did outstanding.”
Minster remains a player in the conference title chase, improving to 5-2 in the MAC. New Bremen remains in first place in the conference with a 5-1 record after its game against Parkway was postponed in the fifth inning with the score tied 1-1 because of lightning.
The weather system stayed north of St. Henry, allowing the Redskins and Wildcats to finish off their dandy of a game.
St. Henry scrapped and took Minster deep into the game despite a tournament game looming less than 24 hours after the 8 p.m. finish time of the game. The Redskins were scheduled to play Marion Local in a sectional semifinal at Minster on Saturday at about 1 p.m.
Niemeyer pitched the game’s first three innings for Minster, getting his work in to get him ready for next week when Minster hosts Marion Local on Tuesday night in a MAC game and then open sectional tournament play against the winner of Saturday’s New Knoxville and Fort Recovery game.