NEW KNOXVILLE — The Minster Wildcats scored 12 runs in the final three innings of their 14-0 five-inning win over the New Knoxville Rangers on Tuesday.
Minster at New Knoxville Baseball Photos:
Now the Wildcats are a win on Friday away from clinching at least a share of the Midwest Athletic Conference title.
Minster squared up Ranger pitching in the third inning.
“We had a talk before the third inning started,” Minster head coach Mike Wiss said. “I thought starting with the third inning our approach was better at the plate. We were not pulling off the ball and we were squaring our shoulders up and let the ball go deeper at the plate and we didn’t jerk our shoulder out.”
That little adjustment did wonders for Minster as they tallied four runs in the third.
New Knoxville starting southpaw Adam Howe had to exit the game in the third inning.
Minster’s Andrew Knapke went to a 3-2 count against Howe when Howe felt something in his shoulder. He was replaced on the mound by Jake Allen.
“Adam was throwing the ball well early in the game,” Rangers head coach Nick Schroer said.
“It was something with his shoulder that didn’t feel right,” Schroer said. “We are not sure what it is but we will have to look at it and find out.”
Knapke then laced a single to left and Adam Niemeyer reached on a hit batter. Devon Poeppelman hit a single to load the bases and Knapke scored on a wild pitch. Ethan Wolf reached on an error with Niemeyer scoring. Poeppelman scored the third run of the inning on a ground out by J. R. Nixon with Wolf going to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Clay Brown to increase the lead to 6-0.
“In the third inning we started hitting the ball a lot better,” Wiss said. “We got a couple of balls in the gaps but some of those innings start when the first guy reaches base. When you get a guy on base the pitchers goes into the stretch and his fastball slows down a little bit and we can capitalize.”
Minster will play a doubleheader on Friday night, in the first game taking on St. Henry in a key MAC contest. If Minster wins, it clinches at least a share of the conference crown. They’ll play Dayton Meadowdale in doubleheader nightcap that evening in a “Playing Hardball Against ALS” night at Hanover Street Park. Admission for the game is free, but freewill donations will be accepted at the gate. All donations will go towards the PHAALS Foundation. There will be 25-cent hot dogs and 50-cent smokies available at the concession stands, as well.
In the top of the fourth inning Minster increased its lead to 9-0 with three more runs. Josh Nixon started the inning by drawing a walk and he went to third on a single and an error on a ball hit by Jay Eilerman. Knapke loaded the bases when he reached on an error and Niemeyer cleaned the bases with a double to center field.
The Wildcats put the game out of reach in the fifth inning when they scored five more runs.
Brandon Hoying led off with one out with a double to center and he scored on a single to center by Nixon. Jay Eilerman hit into a fielder’s choice single and Knapke was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Devon Poeppelman cleared the bases with a triple to center and he came home when the throw went into the dugout.
“Adam Niemeyer threw a nice game,” Wiss said. “Brandon Hoying come on in the bottom of the fifth to close the game out.”
Minster scored their first two runs in the first inning on walks to Eilerman and Knapke, a single by Niemeyer to score Eilerman, a walk to Poeppelman and a sacrifice fly by J. R. Nixon.
The Wildcats (19-1, 7-0) on Friday will entertain St. Henry in a MAC game and then play Meadowdale in the second game, while the Rangers (6-9, 1-4) travel to Sidney Lehman on Thursday.