Knights advance to regional final with win over Loramie
Friday, May 30, 2014 12:00 AM
BY JOHN PARENT
Crestview’s Mitchell Rickard lines a single into right-center with this swing during the D-IV regional semi-final on Thursday. Rickard went 1-for-3 and scored a run in the Knights’ win. (dhi MEDIA/Daniel Joseph)
dhi MEDIA Sports Editor
FAIRBORN — Crestview senior Damian Helm got a chance to finish what he started on Thursday night in the Division IV regional semi-finals at Fairborn High School, though Knights head coach Jim Wharton would have preferred it another way.
After tossing the first six innings and shutting out Fort Loramie on two hits, Helm gave way to Cam Etzler with a 7-0 lead. Five batters later, Helm was back on the mound to record the final two outs of a 7-4 Crestview victory.
“It’s not too hard, my arm still felt good,” Helm said of his return to the mound. “It’s not really a change in mentality; I knew what I had to do. Our defense made plays behind me all night. I just knew I had to pound the zone like I’d been doing all night and we got the win.”
The Knights will play Cincinnati Country Day for the regional title on Friday night.
“Our kids are seasoned. In all their sports, they’ve been here, they’ve done that and baseball is no exception,” Wharton explained. “They’ve played at a high level and we’ve come to expect that from our kids.”
Etzler fanned the first batter he faced in the bottom half of the seventh, but three straight singles got the Redskins on the board before Grant Olberding brought Fort Loramie to within shouting distance with his 3-run home run over the left field fence.
The rough inning on the hill couldn’t overshadow what was an otherwise great evening for Etzler, who reached base all four times on a 3-for-3 day at the plate, including a 2-run double in the sixth. Those runs wound up being important after the Redskins late rally.
“I felt really comfortable at the plate,” Etzler noted, adding that he hadn’t felt this good since going 5-for-7 in a doubleheader versus Ottoville last month.
The Knights got on the board in the second when senior third baseman Isaiah Simerman took Olberding’s 1-0 offering over the left field fence for a solo home run.
“That was huge,” Wharton added. “We had run ourselves out of some innings, so Sims’ 1-pitch (homer) was huge.”
“(Olberding) threw me a slider, and it was a little outside,” Simerman explained. “I figured he’d come back in with it and he did, and it broke right when it got to me. I just took it out to left field.”
The score stayed 1-0 until the Knights scored four times in the top of the fifth, getting help from the Redskin defense.
After a leadoff single by Mitchell Rickard, Brock Rolsten laid down a bunt, but reached safely when the third baseman over-threw first. After Etzler singled to load the bases, Helm’s ground ball forced Etzler, but drove in a run to make it 2-0. Jordan Roop then hit a routine fly ball to center field, plenty deep enough to bring home Rolsten, but two runs wound up scoring when Roop’s ball was dropped by the outfielder. After a wild pitch advanced Roop to third, Nate Owens made it 5-0 Knights with a sacrifice fly.
“We kinda kept knocking on the door, and knocking on the door, and we finally knocked it down and scored four there in the fifth,” Wharton noted. “A lot of good approaches by our kids. The one inning where we really needed to get something established again, Mitchell Rickard leads off with a nice single and we were able to bunt him over with an error there, and that was huge.”
In the sixth, the Knights extended their lead when Etzler clubbed a double over the left fielder’s head to bring home Jordan Miller and Rolsten for a 7-0 advantage.
“We’re more comfortable,” Simerman added of his team’s attempt to get back to the state tournament for a second straight year. “We’ve done all this and we’re not as tense. We’re more loose, and that’s how we need to play. We play very well when we do that.”
Though Helm had thrown just 67 pitches through six frames, Wharton went to his right hander, looking to get Etzler some work.
“With a 7-0 lead, Cam hasn’t thrown in a while and we wanted to get him work,” Wharton explained. “We wanted to save one inning with Damian (for Friday’s district final), he would have been able to come back with four, but instead he’s going to be coming back with three.”
Pitchers are allowed 10 innings of work in a three-day span according to OHSAA rules.
Crestview 010 042 0- 7 9 1
Ft. Loramie 000 000 4- 4 7 3
Etzler cf-p 3-0-3-2, Helm p-1b 3-0-0-1, x- Lippi pr 0-1-0-0, Roop 1b-rf 3-1-0-1, Owens c 3-0-1-1, Simerman 3b 4-1-1-1, Richardson ss 4-0-10, Miller lf 3-1-1-0, Rickard dh 3-1-1-0, x- Overmyer rf 0-0-0-0, x- Clifton cf 0-0-0-0, Rolsten 2b 2-2-1-0
Ft. Loramie (ab-r-h-rbi)
Boerger 2b 4-0-2-0, Braun ss 4-0-0-0, Gephart lf 3-0-0-0, Koppin cf 3-0-0-0, Hilgefort dh 3-1-1-0, Rosengarten 3b 3-1-2-0, x- Siegel pr 0-0-0-0, Gaier 1b-rf 3-1-1-0, Olberding p-1b 3-1-1-3, Kitzmiller c 3-0-0-0
E- Roop, Rosengarten, Koppin, Boerger; LOB- Crestview 4, Ft. Loramie 4; SB- Miller 2, Etzler; 2B- Richardson, Etzler; HR- Simerman, Olberding
Helm (W) 6.0 IP 2 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 6 K
Etzler 0.1 IP 4 H 4 R 4 ER 0 BB 1 K
Helm 0.2 IP 1 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 1 K
Ft. Loramie pitching
Olberding (L) 1.1 IP 3 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 0 K
Rose 5.2 IP 6 H 6 R 1 ER 2 BB 2 K
WP- Helm, Rose