'Skins get shot at state: Dominant performance sends Wapakoneta to title game

Mike Frank
Sports Editor

One. More. Game.
That’s all that now stands between Wapakoneta and its first-ever state title in baseball after a 6-1 win over Circleville in the Division II semifinal Friday afternoon.
Senior Gage Schenk delivered from start to finish on the mound, allowing just three hits and recording 10 strikeouts. He had just one walk as well.
“Everything was working for me,” said Schenk afterward. “The splitter took a few innings. I was very confident. I knew I had an extremely talented offense behind me.” He added that he remembers watching from the stands when Wapakoneta reached the title game in 2012, and wanted to have a similar experience of his own.
Coach Jason Brandt added his praise, calling it “a hell of a performance. He battled all day long. He’s a big time pitcher. Some Division I school needs to pick him up.”
Besides the Tigers, Wapakoneta had to contend with Mother Nature as a storm moved through and halted the game for about an hour with Wapakoneta batting in the third inning.
They had scored three runs before the break, added two more afterwards, then tacked on a run in the fourth. Circleville broke up the shutout bid in the seventh before Schenk slammed the door for good.
Wyatt Moyler had a double and single and drove in three runs, while Don Goodes had two hits and one RBI. Bubba Miller and Schenk each brought in a run, on a walk and flyout, respectively.
As it has been all year, the bottom of the lineup was productive for the Redskins. A.J. Campos had two hits, Jett Makar had three, and Joel Roediger had a hit, a sacrifice and a walk. “We’re fortunate that there are no easy outs anywhere in our lineup,” said Brandt.
For Circleville, starter Jake Mancini allowed five runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings. Andrew Barnhart went the rest of the way, with one run, four hits. Each pitcher had one walk, and Barnhart had one strikeout.
Cory Cline, Brad Henry and Mancini had the hits for the Tigers, with Mancini’s hit scoring Henry.
Schenk showed no sign of nerves, using just 14 pitches in the first as he struck out the side.
Goodes hit the first pitch back up the middle for a single. After a flyout, Moyler’s grounder was turned for an inning-ending double play.
Both sides went in order In the second. In the top of the third, Cline put one to the backhand of the second baseman and was able to reach safely. Schenk then walked Garrott Kennedy. But the defense had its first shining moment as Barnhart’s liner was grabbed by Brady Erb, who ran to first for a double play.
Campos led off the bottom half, and dropped a bunt down, then sprinted down to first base. Next, Makar put one on the grass. However, Circleville failed to cover first base and he got aboard as well. Brandt said afterward the next move was “automatic.” Roediger, who has performed nicely in the DH role since his arm injury, made a couple attempts. With the first baseman charging in, he dropped it perfectly to the third base side. That loaded the bases with no outs and brought up the top of the order.
Goodes singled to left center, scoring Campos, and keeping the bags full of Redskins. After a flyout by Vorhees, Moyler turned on one and put it just between the third baseman and the bag. Makar and Roediger both came around to score.
Apple took one pitch before the teams were sent off, and the tarp was placed on the field. When the skies cleared an hour later, Mancini hit Apple with his first offering and occupy all three. Miller then showed patience and ball four sent him to first and brought Goodes to home and make it 4-0.
That was the end of Mancini’s day. Schenk got enough of one to send it to center. The ball was caught, but it was deep enough for Moyler to come across with run number five. Campos batted for the second time, but flied out to end the inning.
Schenk said that during the delay he worked with the trainer to stay loose, and definitely wanted the ball. In the top of the fourth, he used just a few pitches, with a strikeout and two flyouts.
Makar led off the home half with a solid single into left. He was bunted over by Roediger. After a groundout by Goodes, Vorhees was grazed, keeping the inning alive. Moyler cashed in on the opportunity with a single up the middle, and Wapakoneta now led 6-0.
Schenk did not allow a baserunner in the fifth. The star was Vorhees, who made spectacular efforts on back-to-back grounders by Seth Risner and Ethan Wolfe after Schenk had struck out the first man.
In the Redskins fifth, Barnhart retired the first two batters, Campos hit one that slowed on the wet infield grass to get aboard. Makar then had an infield single, just hitting the bag ahead of the throw. A walk to Roediger loaded the bases, but a flyout allowed Circleville to escape further damage.
Circleville was able to put balls in play in the sixth, but none fell for hits. They then retired Wapakoneta in order for just the second time.
Henry started off the seventh with a single to center, and advanced on a groundout to third. Mancini put one in the air, and it dropped for a hit just in front of Goodes. Henry was sent around and put the Tigers on the board. After a brief talk, Schenk got Burns, and then Risner both swinging and missing for strike three.

Game Notes
Excellent crowd on hand to cheer on Wapakoneta.

The Redskins are now 24-1 on the season. They will face the Chaminade Julienne, who defeated Tallmadge 2-1 in their semifinal on Friday. The championship game begins at 7 p.m., the last of four title games.

The other title games will be Olentangy Liberty and Anthony Wayne in Division I, Coldwater and South Range in Division III, and Fort Loramie and Hicksville in Division IV.

Score by innings
CIR 000 000 1 -- 1
WAP 005 100 x -- 6
WP – Schenk; LP – Mancini
2B – Moyler.