MINSTER — The St. Henry Redskins’ big comeback denied Minster a chance to wrap up a share of the Midwest Athletic Conference title on Monday night.
The Redskins roared back from a late three-run deficit with seven runs in the top of the fifth inning to defeat the Wildcats 8-6 in a MAC showdown.
“We went down right at the beginning 2-0,” St. Henry head coach John Dorner said. “We didn’t hang our heads and we found a way to get back in the game. We scored a run to make it 2-1 and that was a big run for us. Then we are down to them 4-1 on their home field but we didn’t panic. We kept our focus and relaxed and strung some hits together and held off of some pitches.”
The loss drops Minster into a first-place tie with Coldwater at 7-1 in the MAC standings. Minster plays Marion Local and Coldwater faces Delphos St. John’s, with both the Wildcats and Cavaliers looking to clinch at least a tie of the MAC title with a win.
In the fifth inning the Redskins were patient as Alex Post led off with a double to center. Brian Kremer drew a walk and Derek Rindler singled to load the bases. Garrett Stout singled to score Post and Jeff Paul singled to right to drive home Kremer and Rindler to tie the game at 4-4.
Minster head coach Mike Wiss brought in Clay Brown to relieve Devon Poeppelman on the mound to face Andrew Lundvall. Brown got Lundvall to fly out to left, but Paul stole second before Briar Holloman doubled down the right field line to score Stout and Paul.
Devin Froning walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Jason Jacobs singled to left to score Holloman. Wiss replaced Brown on the mound with Andrew Knapke and he got Post to ground into a fielder’s choice with Froning being tagged out at home. Kremer reached on an error which scored Jacobs. Rindler singled to reload the bases but Stout struck out to end the inning.
“Their right handers understand letting the ball come a little deeper in the zone and hit the ball to the opposite field and they did that very well,” Minster head coach Mike Wiss said. “That was the first time this season that this team had to sit and take it in that fifth inning.”
“We were able to use the whole field in the fifth inning,” Dorner said. “We went opposite field and pulled a couple of balls and went up the middle. We had a good approach at the plate against the number one team in the state.”
The Wildcats got on the board early with a pair of runs in the first inning.
Jay Eilerman led off with a walk and stole second. Andrew Knapke sent him to third with a single. Following a strikeout and a steal, Devon Poeppelman laced a double to deep right-center to score both runners. Ethan Wolf flied out to end the inning.
The Redskins got one of the runs back in the third. Alex Post walked to start the frame and Brian Kremer reached on a bunt with Post being safe at second on an error. Derek Rindler grounded into a fielder’s choice with Post going to third. Post came home to score on a single by Garrett Stout.
Minster increased their lead to 4-1 with another pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Clay Brown led off with a double to center. Following a strikeout, Brandon Hoying walked along with JR Nixon to load the bases. Brown scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Eilerman and Hoying scored on a single by Knapke.
The Wildcats concluded the scoring with another pair of runs in the sixth inning.
JR Nixon led off with a walk and Max Huber went in to pinch run. Brandon Hoying struck out and Josh Nixon lined a single to center. Eilerman smack a deep single to left but Huber d out trying to score. Knapke smacked a double to left that scored Nixon and Eilerman to cut the deficit to 8-6.
Dorner replaced Mikesell on the mound with Brian Kremer and he got Adam Niemeyer to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
“Ryan Mikesell pitched a great game,” Dorner said. “He got in trouble a couple of times with walks and they came back to be some runs but he did a good job as a sophomore against the number one team in the state. Then Brian Kremer came in and slammed the door.”
The Redskins (20-5, 6-2) will entertain New Knoxville today, while Minster (19-2, 7-1) will travel to Marion Local in a MAC game today. They'll face Marion Local again on Wednesday in tournament action.