Minster waits, wins again at state ACME tournament

CELINA — Before Minster could play its game against Toledo Central Catholic on Sunday, it had to play the waiting game.

All six hours of it.

The Wildcats made the long wait worth the hassle by jumping out to an early lead in an 8-3 win over Toledo Central Catholic on Sunday night in the second round of the state ACME tournament.

Minster arrived at Montgomery Field at 3:30 p.m., only to watch six separate rain delays extend the preceding game between Defiance and Vandalia Butler into a seven-hour affair.

Minster and Central Catholic finally got off a first pitch at 9:45 p.m. — more than four hours after the originally scheduled start time.

“It was a long time. We were here for six hours before we played. Yeah, we took some trips to Menard’s, got something to eat,” Minster coach Scott Sherman said, laughing. “We tried to stay loose and once it was game time we flipped that switch and were ready to go.”

On Saturday, the Wildcats opened their ACME state tournament with a dramatic walkoff 1-0 win over Springfield, keyed by Doug Huber’s walkoff single in the seventh and his dominating one-hit, 10-strikeout shutout on the mound.

Minster will now face Vandalia Butler on Wednesday night in the winner’s bracket semifinal at 6 p.m. at Montgomery Field in Celina.

Minster scored three runs in the top of the second inning and added two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to keep Central Catholic playing from behind all night.

“Yesterday it took us all seven innings to get it going,” Sherman said.  “It was nice to get up early on them in the second inning and we did a nice job of continuing to add runs.”

With Toledo Central Catholic’s long drive from downtown Toledo to Celina and Minster’s spring state championship team being honored at a Cincinnati Reds game tonight, tournament organizers were willing to do just about anything to get the games in. That included six separate delays following heavy rainstorms and hours of squeegeeing the synthetic surface on the Eastview Park diamond.

Devon Poeppelman pitched into the sixth inning for Minster before Austin Knapke came on to get the Wildcats out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam. Adam Niemeyer worked a scoreless seventh inning to finish off Toledo Central Catholic right around 12:15 a.m.

“Devon once again did a nice job out there,” Sherman said. “He probably gave away a few too many walks, but he pitched really well and gave us all he could. Austin came in that bases-loaded jam and got them to pop up.”

Minster grabbed the lead in the second by sending nine to the plate with a key two-run single to center field by Drew Elson to make it 2-0. Ethan Wolf followed with an single that plated Elson after an error by the TCC right fielder.

Minster (17-6) scored twice in the fourth with the aide of two Central Catholic defensive miscues. Austin Knapke collected an RBI single. Knapke came around to score on an error.

Minster added three runs in the fifth on a throwing error and Adam Niemeyer’s RBI fielder’s choice groundout.

Toledo  Central Catholic committed five errors in the field in its first loss of the tournament.

The other winner’s bracket game scheduled for 7 p.m. between Greenville and Bowling Green was moved to tonight at 7 p.m.

Minster has still yet to lose in the ACME tournament since the championship game of the Auglaize County sectional.