Minster a win away from state ACME tourney

ST. HENRY — Austin Knapke’s pitching and some timely hits have Minster in prime position for a state ACME tournament berth.

Ryan Hoying hit a two-run home run and Knapke frustrated Cavalier batters for six innings  in the Wildcats’  3-1 win over Coldwater in the first game of the ACME district championship series on Thursday night.

Knapke took a shutout into the seventh inning. He stranded a Coldwater runner at third base in the first, fourth and sixth innings. He gave up one run on five hits, striking out three and walking three.

“I knew he wasn’t going to be here on Friday and I figured we would need to use him sometime this week, might as well use him tonight,” Minster coach Scott Sherman said. “And he did phenomenal. He threw strikes, kept them off balance, mixed up his pitches and hit his spots.”

For a spell between the second inning to the sixth inning, Knapke retired 11 of 12 Coldwater batters.

“Their guy did a really nice job of getting three pitches over,” Coldwater coach Tom Brunswick said.

The Wildcats now have their  top two pitchers, Adam Niemeyer and Doug Huber, ready to go tonight against the Cavaliers —  needing one of the two games to advance to state.

“He did exactly what we needed him to do tonight,” Sherman said.

Coldwater needs to sweep Thursday’s games, with the first game beginning at 6 p.m. at St. Henry tonight.

“We can still win this thing,” Brunswick said. “We just have to do it the hard way.”

Minster is a win away from a trip to the state ACME tournament. The Wildcats and Cavaliers face off again tonight at 6 p.m. at St. Henry. If Minster wins one of the two possible games tonight, they’ll head to the state tournament at Celina next week. Coldwater is in an elimination situation, needing to win the first game to force a second game and needing to win both games tonight to advance to state.

Read the full story in today's Evening Leader print edition.

                                     R   H  E
CW   000   000  1  —  1   5   0
MIN  102   000  X  —  3   4   0

WP — Knapke
LP — Schmackers
SV — Poeppelman
2B — CW: Matt Selhorst, MIN: Adam Niemeyer (2),
HR — Hoying.