MINSTER — Minster’s early offensive explosion accomplished a few things.
Taking a 9-0 lead through three innings allowed the Wildcats to coast to a 10-0 win over New Knoxville on Wednesday night in the resumption of a rain postponement from the night before.
The big lead also let Minster head coach Mike Wiss get his pitching staff lined up for next week’s tournament, a glaring need with rainouts and a scarcity of games left to let his deep and talented pitching staff get its work in.
“We need to stay sharp,” Minster head coach Mike Wiss said.
Minster (18-5, 5-2 MAC) has one more regular season game at St. Henry on Friday before it starts Division IV tournament action next Tuesday.
And, of course, there are still Midwest Athletic Conference title aspirations. Minster is a game behind first-place New Bremen in the MAC standings. Minster needs to win on Friday at St. Henry have New Bremen lose one of its final two MAC contests to earn a conference title share.
New Bremen leads the MAC with a 5-1 record in conference play and will host Parkway on Friday night and then make up its rained out game from Tuesday at Versailles at 10 a.m.
Minster’s Doug Huber pitched the first three innings a day after throwing two-thirds of an inning before storms postponed the game on Tuesday.
Wiss didn’t want to push Huber too far, but wanted his big right-hander to get some work in before the tournament.
Minster’s Austin Knapke pitched a pair of scoreless innings of relief. Knapke worked for the first time in nine days.
Minster starter Adam Niemeyer hasn’t pitched in a game in a week.
The Wildcats didn’t let New Knoxville, which pushed Coldwater to the brink last week, every hang around.
“It was nice to see us hit and get some runs after the rainout the day before,” Wiss said.
Minster scored a run in the bottom of the first on a Devon Poeppelman RBI single.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the second on a two-run single by Jay Eilerman after a Ryan Hoying single and Rob Wente hit by pitch followed by a dropped pop up after the infield fly rule had been invoked put a pair of runners in scoring position.
After Huber finished his three innings of work with a perfect inning in which he fielded a pair of groundouts, Minster scored six runs in the bottom of the third.
An error, a walk and hit batter loaded the bases for Ethan Wolf, who singled in a run.
New Knoxville starter Jake Allen left the game with an injury, bringing southpaw Adam Howe to the mound for the Rangers. Allen stayed in the game and played in center field.
After a run scored on an errant throw back to the pitcher to make it 5-0, Austin Knapke singled in a pair of runs. Adam Niemeyer followed with a two-run double to push the lead to 9-0.
Minster scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule when Poeppelman singled to left field to bring around Jay Eilerman, who had singled to lead off the inning and stole second base with two outs.