Bound for Columbus: Wapakoneta wins regional final in extra innings

MIke Frank
Sports Editor

This wasn't exactly a walk-off โ€” more of a walk around.
Ontario and Wapakoneta battled back and forth for over three hours in very warm conditions, and found themselves all even at 5 in the Region 6 final of the Division II baseball tournament.
In the eighth inning, Ontario's pitchers could not find the strike zone, issuing a total of eight walks. After one to open the inning, two more of the intentional variety loaded the bases. Five more passes plus a single by A.J. Campos produced six runs.
That would be the final margin as the Redskins won 11-5, and moved on to the state semifinals. They will face the southeast region's representative, Circleville on Friday at 4 p.m. at Huntington Park in downtown Columbus.
Brady Erb started for Wapakoneta. In 3 2/3 innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two. Senior Don Goodes then came in and tossed 2 1/3 innings, retiring seven of the eight batters. He walked two batters to open the seventh. After the Redskins handed the ball to Manny Vorhees, those two runners would score. Vorhees threw the final two innings, allowing one hit and one walk. Goodes struck out four and Vorhees got two.
Offensively, Goodes and Wyatt Moyler each had doubles. Both also walked three times. Campos had a double and single, Bubba Miller singled and walked, and Jett Makar walked twice. Moyler drove in two runs, while Vorhees, Makar, Apple, Miller, Schenk, Campos, and Roediger all had one each. Two runs scored due to errors by Ontario.
For Ontario, starter Andrew Cacchio pitched three innings, allowing two runs, one hit, and four walks. He was followed by Jake Gleason, Will Watkins, Luke Smith, Avery Fisher, and Damarius Taylor. In the five innings, they allowed nine runs, four hits, and 10 walks.
After Wapakoneta left one man on in their first at-bat, Gleason drew a one-out walk, and Fisher followed with an infield single. The Warriors then executed a delayed double steal to occupy second and third. Erb got Smith looking at strike three. Gleason then attempted to steal home, but the ball hit him in the leg as he slid, sending him back. Noah Creed smacked a double up the middle and into center, giving the Warriors a 2-0 lead.
The Redskins went in order, bringing Onatrio to the plate. A one-out walk was followed by a strikeout. Cacchio then hit a grounder. The throw to first was off-target, but Vorhees chased the ball down, and fired to second in time for the third out.
Makar opened the third with a free pass, and moved up on a bunt by Joel Roediger. Goodes also walked, and both then moved over a base on a wild pitch. Vorhees grounded out to short, but it had the benefit of allowing Makar to score. Moyler then doubled to left, scoring Goodes and tying the game at 2.
A flyout opened the Ontario third, but Fisher hit a bloop single into shallow right. Two more hits, both of which were to the left side of the infield, loaded the bases. A fly ball by Nolan Hatfield was caught, but deep enough, allowing Fisher to put the Warriors back in front. The Wapakoneta defense was quick enough, however, as they were able to double off Creed to end the inning.
Gleason came in to start the fourth, offering a different look with a sidearm delivery. He got the first batter, then gave up a double by Campos. A balk sent him over to third. Makar's fly ball dropped into center, and Campos scored to once again tie the game. Makar was then tagged out after overrunning second base, and a popup by Roediger was the third out.
Nick Arnold of Ontario put one down the first base line that just squeezed through. He took too big a lead, however, and Makar's throw easily beat him to second base. Erb gave up a walk and single, which prompted the move to southpaw Goodes.
Cacchio got aboard as Wapakoneta got a forceout at second. Coach Brandt made a lengthy argument about possible interference, but to no avail. Goodes then ended the frame with a groundout.
Starting the fifth with the top of the order, Goodes hit the first pitch into center for a double, and moved up on a flyout to right. After a walk to Moyler, Apple hit a grounder, and beat the throw, which was skipped. Goodes also scored on the play to make it 4-3. With Miller at the plate, a wild pitch brought Moyler across. Watkins came in to pitch, getting a strikeout. Schenk popped one up behind the plate with Ontario catcher Trey Thompson making a diving grab for the third out. Goodes put Ontario down in order in the bottom half.
Wapakoneta had a chance to extend its lead in the sixth. With two down, Roediger bunted a high pitch. The throw to first was offline, and he made the turn for second. Goodes was intentionally put on. Vorhees put a grounder up the middle, but Ontario failed to execute, with Goodes called safe. The bases were now loaded, but Moyler's soft liner to right was snared to prevent any scoring. A flyout and two strikeouts by Goodes moved things to the seventh.
Miller singled with one away, and advanced on a sacrifice, but was left there after a groundout.
Facing a two-run deficit. Ontario's Griffin Shaver and Cacchio walked. Vorhees came to the mound, and Gleason got to first after the throw was dropped. A missed third strike, requiring a throw to first, and a groundout produced the runs to bring things even at 5. Two batters later, another groundout ended the inning.
Like Ontario, Wapakoneta opened its at-bat with a walk, this one to Makar. A bunt attempt was popped up and caught for an out. Ontario then chose to avoid Goodes and Vorhees with intentional walks. The strategy backfired, however, with walks to Moyler, Apple, Rob Gerstner, and Schenk forcing in runners. Ontario twice changed pitchers in the middle of at-bats. An infield single by Campos made it 10-5. Makar, in his second at-bat of the inning, struck out. Roediger walked to plate Gerstner for Wapakoneta's last run.
Vorhees started off the bottom half with a hit batter and a walk, but settled down and got back-to-back strikeouts. Gleason came up and put one on the ground to second. It was flipped to the shortstop for the game-ending play.
Game Notes
Wapakoneta is now 23-1 on the season.

In the second semifinal on Friday, Tallmadge (19-11), representing the northeast, will face Chaminade-Julienne (22-5), from the southwest. That game will be at 7 p.m.

The Division II state final will be the last of four games on Saturday, and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Score by innings
Wapak 002 120 06 โ€” 11
Ontario 201 000 20 โ€” 5