Riders take twin bill over Minster

ST. MARYS — The St. Marys baseball team put up a combined 25 hits and 21 runs in a doubleheader sweep of the Minster Wildcats on Saturday at K.C. Geiger Park. The Riders run-ruled the Wildats 10-0 in the opener behind the strong pitching Zack Wilker and then jumped on the Cats early in the second game en route to an 11-3 victory.

“The guys put the bat on the ball. That’s the name of the game and good things will happen,” said St. Marys head coach Jeff Dieringer, whose team is off to a 4-0 start in his first season as head coach. “We didn’t beat ourselves and got some breaks early in the second game.”

St. Marys reached double-digit runs for the third time in four games.

“It was nice that we kept scoring,” Dieringer said. “Against LCC earlier in the week we got up 5-1 and almost seemed like we were waiting for them to catch up. I don’t want that mentality. I want to keep going at them and applying pressure.”

Nathan Vogel had four hits and four runs batted in for the Riders in the second game. Kyle Kiefer went 2 for 4 with two runs batted in.Josh Young collected two hits  and two RBIs, and Mason Gross went 2 for 3.

Tristan Becker went 3 for 3 in the opener with a pair of runs batted in. Mason Gross and Zack Wilker both went  2 for 3 with two RBIs, Isaac Fitzgerald drove in two runs, and Jared Knous was 2 for 2 with three runs scored and an RBI.

The pitching shined for the Roughriders, as well. Zack Wilker turned in a complete game victory on the mound in the opener with eight strikeouts and just four hits given up. In the second game, Brandon Coffey got the start and shook off a spotty first couple innings to go six innings giving up three runs while striking out four.  

“My challenge to Brandon was to be a pitcher and not a thrower,” Dieringer said. “Brandon wants to be a starter. I think at the beginning of the day I viewed him as a thrower and at the end of the day he showed me he can be a pitcher. He accepted that challenge after I went out to the mound and talked to him. I was very pleased with that.”

Minster fell to 0-3. The Wildcats have been playing from behind early in the season, not a recipe for success.

“We’ve played three games and been behind after the first inning in all three games,” Minster head coach Mike Wiss said. “We’ve done our fair share of giving teams walks, hit by pitches and crucial errors. You accompany that with people getting double-digit hits, it makes it very difficult and makes you play a perfect game. I don’t want us to have to play a perfect game to win. But we’re going to get a few kids back and everybody is going to get opportunities.”

Josh Nixon, J.R. Nixon, John Baumer and Garrett Hogenkamp each had a hit apiece for Minster in the first game. J.R. Nixon went 2 for 3 with a run batted in and a double in the second game.

Minster hosts Wapakoneta on Monday night. On Saturday, the Wildcats will play a doubleheader against Fort Loramie and New Middletown Springfield. The game will feature a quarter sandwich sale with all proceeds going to Auglaize County Hospice.

St. Marys will hosts New Bremen on Monday at K.C. Geiger Park at 5 p.m.