Local Sports

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

District Baseball: Vanlue gets another shot at Ottawa Hills
By JAMIE BAKER

Staff Writer

For Vanlue's seniors, it's one last chance to beat Ottawa Hills.

That's the challenge facing the Wildcats today as district baseball games throughout northwest Ohio get underway.

Vanlue (14-6) plays Ottawa Hills for the third time in four years in a Division IV district game at Flag City Memorial Field today at 7 p.m. North Baltimore (16-9) and Northwood will tangle in the opener at 4:15 p.m.

"This is a big week for our kids. This will be the third time our seniors have played Ottawa Hills in the district and we've never beat them," Vanlue coach Bill Summers said.

"Ottawa Hills is a good team. We want to keep it close early and win it in the sixth or seventh inning. That's what we have done all year."

Josh Clymer will take the mound for the Wildcats as he, Lee Summers and Zach Garber get one last chance to advance to the regional tournament.

"Josh has pitched in all of our big games and I know he is ready for this one," Summers said. "We just have to play good defense behind him and we're confident he'll do the job."

Across town at the Marathon Diamonds, McComb (13-8), the only other Blanchard Valley Conference team left in the tournament, will take on Gibsonburg at 4:30 p.m. in a Division IV district semifinal. New Riegel (14-10) will play Midland Athletic League rival Fremont St. Joseph (15-14) in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.

It's been a roller coaster ide this season for McComb.

The Panthers ended the regular season on the downside with a 6-2 loss to Leipsic Saturday that cost the Panthers a share of the BVC title.

A few tournament wins could go a long way in making up for a disappointing loss to the Vikings.

"Saturday after the game, I told our kids they are done, we aren't," said McComb coach Rob Quiroga.

"We gave the kids Sunday off and got back to work today. We'll work on a few things Tuesday and the kids will be ready to play on Wednesday."

Quiroga likes his team's chances.

The Panthers feature a five-deep pitching rotation led by Taylor Reardon. Clay Grubb, Cody Wilson, Mitch Schroeder and Andrew Adams have also pitched well.

Defense shouldn't be a problem either as the Panthers have only committed 11 errors.

Clutch hitting, that's another story.

The Panthers have had a problem leaving runners on base. Quiroga even joked that it's one of the reasons he keeps his hair short because the team's offense is so frustrating at times and he jokingly wants to pull his hair out.

"In the sectional final, Mohawk was very disciplined at the plate and we told our kids that's what we wanted to see from them," Quiroga said.

"We did a little better job against Leipsic, now we have to keep doing a better job at the plate again this week"

Several other area teams will open district play.

Miller City plays Allen East at 2 p.m. and Kalida takes on Delphos St. John's at 5 p.m. in a Division IV district doubleheader at Elida's Ed Sandy Field today.

At Coldwater, Ottoville plays St. Henry at 6:30 p.m. in Division IV district action today.

On Thursday, Findlay plays Norwalk at Bowling Green's Carter Park in a Division I district semifinal at 7:15 p.m.

In the Division III district semifinals at the University of Northwest Ohio, Patrick Henry plays Lima Bath in the 2 p.m. game while Ottawa-Glandorf faces Lima Central Catholic at 5 p.m.

Baker, 419-427-8409

jamiebaker@thecourier.com


Subscribe to The Courier.