Van Wert DH Joe Lisa (5) takes a hack during the Cougars’ 8-3 win over LCC on Sunday afternoon at Elida. Lisa went 1-for-3 in the game and scored a run. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
Van Wert DH Joe Lisa (5) takes a hack during the Cougars’ 8-3 win over LCC on Sunday afternoon at Elida. Lisa went 1-for-3 in the game and scored a run. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
By Jim Metcalfe
DHI Media Staff Writer
ELIDA — To advance to the state ACME tournament, Van Wert must win each of its next two games. Just advancing to the double-elimination district final has been an accomplishment in itself: the Cougars won back-to-back elimination games after losing the opener on Saturday morning at Elida’s Ed Sandy Field.
Van Wert bounced back with a Saturday win over St. Marys, which had beaten the Cougars three times this season, then stayed alive by defeating Lima Central Catholic on Sunday afternoon to set up a confrontation with Bath. The two teams will face off on Monday at 6 p.m. Bath needs only a win to advance to the state tournament at Archbold. Van Wert must beat the Wildcats twice to advance.
Sunday’s 8-3 decision over the T-birds avenged a Saturday loss.
Van Wert (15-7) opened the scoring in the top of the first against LCC starter Bitler Rumer. Justice Tussing led off with a double to deep left and scored on consecutive bounce outs to second by Joe Lisa and Brant Henry.

The T-Birds retaliated with a run in the home half against Van Wert right-hander Caleb Jenkins. A 1-out walk to Jacob Judy started the rally. After a steal, Judy came around to score on Liam Stolly’s base hit.
“Caleb pitched a great game. You could see him grow in confidence as the game wore on, starting to hit his spots more consistently,” Cougar ACME head coach Karlin Dunlap noted. “It seemed every time he needed a big out, he got it against a good team. On the other hand, we got a big 3-run double by Gavin (Gardner) in the fifth and that just seemed to open it up for us.”
Van Wert went up 3-1 in the fourth. Ryan Stoller singled to left, stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Caleb Fetzer walked. The Cougars then pulled off a double steal to plate Stoller and put pinch-runner Bryan Mills at second. Mason Carr walked. Later in the inning, Jenkins helped his own cause with a 2-out single to right to plate Mills for a 3-1 edge.
The T-Birds got within 3-2 in the home fourth on a 1-out strikeout in the dirt, allowing pinch-hitter Keaton Meyer to be safe, a Regan Altenbach single and a 2-out Judy double.
The Cougars made it 6-2 in the fifth. With one down, Henry singled and stole second. Stoller walked to finish Rumer for Thomas Williams. A wild pitch advanced both runners. Fetzer bounced to third and Henry was caught too far off third, getting into a rundown and being tagged out at home. However, that still left runners at second and third. Carr walked to load the bases; Gavin Gardner unloaded them with a double over the right fielder’s head for that 6-2 lead.
Van Wert added its last two runs in the sixth. With one down, Lisa and Henry rapped back-to-back doubles for one run; defensive interference allowed Henry to go to third and he scored on a Stoller sacrifice fly to left.
LCC bows out at 13-7.
On Saturday, the Cougars staved off elimination with a 6-4 win over the Roughriders.
Stoller threw a 112-pitch complete game (73 strikes), allowing seven hits and four earned runs. He walked five and fanned 10.
Henry led the Cougar offense in going 3-for-3, while Justice Tussing was 2-for-4. Dustin Howell was 2-for-3 for the Roughriders, while Tristan Becker was 2-for-4.
In the opener, the Cougars lost 3-1 to Lima Central Catholic.
The southpaw Henry went five innings for the Cougars. Jenkins worked the final inning in relief.
Ian Friesner tossed an 84-pitch complete game, allowing just three Cougar hits and one earned run.
Jacob Judy had the only multi-hit game for either unit, going 2-for-3.
Sunday’s game
Justice Tussing 2b 4-1-1-0, Joe Lisa dh 3-1-1-0, Jacob Williamson ss 0-0-0-0, Brant Henry lf 4-1-2-2, Ryan Stoller cf 1-0-1-0, Caleb Fetzer 3b 3-1-0-0, Bryan Mills pr 0-1-0-0, Mason Carr rf 2-1-0-0, Gavin Gardner 1b 3-0-1-3, B.J. Covey ph 1-0-0-0, Ryan McCracken c 1-0-0-0, Ethan Williams ph 1-0-0-0, Caleb Jenkins p 3-0-1-1, Josh Brown p 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-8-8-7.
Bitler Rumer p/cf 4-0-0-0, Jacob Judy cf/lf 3-2-2-1, Liam Stolly 1b 2-0-1-1, Alex Lehmkuhl pr 0-0-0-0, Brad Stolly 3b 4-0-2-0, Joe Eisle 2b 4-0-1-1, Thomas Williams ss/p 4-0-0-0, Joey Watkins c 3-0-1-0, Derek Wolfe rf/pr 2-1-0-0, Keaton Meyer ph 1-0-0-0, Regan Altenbach lf 2-0-1-0, Brendon Stolly ss 0-0-0-0. Totals 29-3-8-3.
Score by Innings:
Van Wert 100 232 0- 8
Lima CC 100 100 1- 3
E: Williams; DP: Van Wert 1; LOB: Van Wert 7, Lima Central Catholic 11; 2B: Tussing, Lisa, Henry, Gardner, Judy; SB: Stoller 2 (home), Henry, Mills, Jenkins, Judy; CS: Watkins (by McCracken); Sac: Jenkins, Wolfe; SF: Stoller.
Jenkins (W) 6.0 8 3 2 5 5
Braun 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
Rumer (L) 4.1 4 4 4 5 2
Williams 2.2 3 4 4 2 0
Jenkins pitched to 3 batters in 7th
WP: Jenkins 3, Rumer, Williams; BB: Carr 2, McCracken 2, L. Stolly 2, Lisa, Stoller, Fetzer, Judy, Watkins, Bre. Stolly.
Saturday’s games
Score by Innings:
Van Wert 000 001 0- 1 3 2
Lima CC 003 000 x- 3 5 4
Brant Henry, Caleb Jenkins (6) and Ryan McCracken; Ian Friesner and Joe Watkins. WP: Friesner; LP: Henry. LOB: Van Wert 6, Lima Central Catholic 10.
Score by Innings:
St. Marys 010 000 3- 4 8 2
Van Wert 101 031 0- 6 8 2
Derek Jay, Michael Hastreiter (5) and Isaac Fitzgerald; Ryan Stoller and Ryan McCracken. WP: Stoller; LP: Jay. LOB: St. Marys Memorial 9, Van Wert 9. 2B: Fitzgerald, Logan Maze (S), Dustin Howell (S), Brant Henry (V), Caleb Fetzer (V).