By MICHAEL BURWELL
OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf’s baseball team has had its share of exciting one-run games this season, and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Lima Central Catholic in a Division III sectional semifinal was no different.
But it was the way that the Titans ended the game and how they regrouped after a scary collision knocked starting pitcher Tanner Schimmoeller out of the game that showed Ottawa-Glandorf’s mettle.
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning and O-G leading 1-0, Titans’ center fielder Tyler Zender threw out Luke Baumgartner at home plate to end the game.
Down to their final out, the Thunderbirds stayed alive when Baumgartner reached first base after O-G shortstop Brad Croy bobbled a groundball. The next batter, Drew Jennings, ripped a single to center field on an 0-2 count to advance Baumgartner to second base.
As Liam Stolly roped a line-drive to center field, Zender planned his game-winning throw to catcher Ben Dietering perfectly.
“It was a line drive right at me. I probably could have dove at that one, too, but I saw their coach was waving the guy around third,” Zender, who also made a diving catch in the fourth inning, said. “So I was like, ‘I’m going to set up and throw a ball right on the money’ and Ben (Dietering) was there, made a nice play, blocked the plate and it was a great tag on his part.”
O-G (17-4), a No. 4 district seed, will host sixth-seeded Bluffton, which knocked off Allen East 3-0 on Saturday, at 5 p.m. Thursday in a sectional final.
LCC (10-14) still has three regular-season games left, but the postseason run is over.
The win for the Titans, however, came with a potentially costly price.
In the fifth inning, Baumgartner hit a short pop-up in the infield between Schimmoeller and first-baseman Andrew Wischmeyer, and both players collided.
It appeared that Schimmoeller, a 6-foot-6 senior who will pitch for the University of Cincinnati next season, took a knee to the head. Both players were down for about a minute, and Wischmeyer was able to get up on his own. Schimmoeller stayed down.
LCC and O-G trainers and several players helped Schimmoeller get to his feet, but he fell right back down and, after a few more minutes, was helped off the field.
O-G head coach Nick Miller said that Schimmoeller had “more than likely a concussion.”
“Nobody likes to see that on the field there, and it affected both teams there, but we still had a game to play and Matt (Warnecke) came in and threw strikes, got out of the inning, got us back in the dugout where we collected our thoughts a little bit and found a way to finish the game,” Miller said.
Schimmoeller (3-1) picked up the win, pitching 41/3 innings and allowing no runs on no hits while striking out five batters and walking one.
Warnecke, another senior pitcher who’s had success for the Titans this season (5-2 record, 1.11 ERA), picked up right where Schimmoeller left off.
He struck out Jennings on four pitches and forced a groundout by Liam Stolly to get out of the inning.
Overall, Warnecke pitched the rest of the game, allowing four hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
“You got to give Warnecke credit, too,” LCC head coach John Schneiders said. “Here’s a kid who’s pitched against us for a couple years in the tournament and not had a whole lot of good fortune against us, and he comes in and in a really difficult position and became that senior leader that they really needed.
“When you looked at the body language of those O-G kids after watching their guy go down, he did a great job of stepping in and immediately continuing the momentum that they had.”
The lone run in the game came in the third inning from an RBI-single to left field from Austin Williams.
Croy ripped a one-out single to center field, stole second base and advanced to third two pitches later on a passed ball, and scored on Williams’ hit.
LCC’s Colin Stolly was saddled with the loss, pitching six innings and allowing a run on four hits. He had six strikouts, no walks and didn’t allow a hit after Williams’ third-inning hit.
Both coaches said the game played out exactly like they thought it would, with dominant pitching.
“Like we told our kids, this is not a typical opening round of the tournament game,” Miller said. “These two teams, when we get together, it’s always a battle, and luckily we were on the right side of this.
“All three pitchers commanded the strike zone very well. Colin, with his assortment of breaking pitches and changeup, was very tough…He really limited us, he did a heck of a job.”
LIMA CENTRAL CATHOLIC 000 000 0 — 0 4 0
OTTAWA-GLANDORF 001 000 x — 1 4 1
WP — Schimmoeller (3-1). LP — C. Stolly. SV — Warnecke. TOP HITTERS: (LCC) Jennings, Romer & L. Stolly 1B. (O-G) Williams 1B, RBI.
RECORDS: Lima Central Catholic 10-14, Ottawa-Glandorf 17-4.
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