Van Wert’s Justice Tussing watches his fly ball during an ACME tournament game on Friday, June 27, at Crestview. The Cougars reached the sectional final with a win over the host Knights on Tuesday evening. (DHI Media/John Parent)
Van Wert’s Justice Tussing watches his fly ball during an ACME tournament game on Friday, June 27, at Crestview. The Cougars reached the sectional final with a win over the host Knights on Tuesday evening. (DHI Media/John Parent)
By Daniel Joseph
DHI Media Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
CONVOY – The Van Wert Cougars squared off against the Crestview Knights with a trip to the District ACME tournament on the line on Tuesday night. Van Wert defeated the Knights during the regular season and the outcome was the same in tournamnet play, as Van Wert advanced to districts with a 6-2 win. The loss eliminates Crestview from the tournament.
The Knights scored a run in the first inning following a leadoff single by Jordan Miller. Miller advanced to second on a sacrifice and then to third on a wild pitch by Van Wert starter Ryan Stoller. before scoring on Jordan Roop’s groundout.
The Cougars were down a run until the fourth inning against Crestview southpaw Jon Krause when their offense finally woke up. After a lineout to begin the inning, Caleb Fetzer walked and then scored when Mason Carr smoke a double to the gap. The offense wasn’t done yet, though, as Carr and Gavin Gardner would eventually score to give the Cougars a 3-1 advantage.
The Knights got one run back in the fifth to bring the game within one as Mitchell Rickard walked to open the frame and then scored on a Miller sacrifice fly.


The sixth brought troubles for the Knights, however, as they needed three pitchers to get through the inning. After a leadoff double by Fetzer, Krouse’s day was done and left hander Colby Clifton was brought in to try and retire the Cougars. Clifton fanned the first man he faced, and got Josh Braun to pop-out to second baseman Zech Simerman. Fetzer, who had advanced to third on a passed ball, raced toward the plate on the pop-fly and was called safe on a controversial play at home.
More trouble followed for the Knights, as Clifton walked the next two batters before Justice Tussing singled to right and Gardner came into score due to a throwing error. Gavin Cross then walked to load the bases for Van Wert. Clifton attempted to pick off Bryan Mills at third, but the ball was off target and Mills scored. Clifton walked one more batter before being lifted for Jordan Roop, who was able to close out the frame. The Knights went in order in the last two innings of the game and that marked the end of their ACME season. Crestview finishes the campaign at 7-8.
“I thought that our effort was really good tonight,” said Knight head coach Jeff Helm. “We competed against a very good Van Wert team. The bottom line is, you can’t give up four errors, extra chances, and expect to win. Stoller limited us to just two hits and we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
Van Wert finished the game with a zero on the scoreboard in the category of errors. It was a different story for the Knights as they had four errors in the ballgame, all of which cost Crestview runs.
“They kind of helped us out a little bit but we’ll take it anytime,” said Cougar head coach Karlin Dunlap. “We put the ball in play a lot and that really helped. We shut them down defensively and that had a lot to do with Ryan’s success.”
Van Wert advances to the district tournament, but still has one more game remaining in the sectional. The Cougars have a rematch with St. Marys on Wednesday. This game is for seeding purposes only. These two teams have previously met twice this season and St. Marys was victorious in both. They played in the sectional tournament Monday night and the ‘Riders won 1-0, with both teams allowing just two hits a piece.
“I think tomorrow is going to be one heck of a game,” said Dunlap. “Two really good teams that both have a shot at going to state. I can’t wait.”
Van Wert 000 303 0- 6 7 0
Crestview 100 010 0- 2 2 4
Van Wert (AB – Runs – Hits – RBI): Tussing (2B): 4-0-3-0 ; Lisa (RF): 2-0-0-0 ; x- Cross (PH): 0-0-0-0 ; Stoller (P): 4-0-0-0, Fetzer (3B): 2-2-2-0 ; x- Jenkins (3B): 1-0-0-0 ; Carr (LF): 3-1-1-1 ; Braun (DH): 3-0-0-0, x- Williams (PH): 3-0-0-0 ; Gardner (1B): 2-1-1-1 ; McCracken (C): 3-0-0-0, x- Mills (PR): 0-0-0-0
Crestview (AB – Runs – Hits –RBI): Miller (3B): 2-1-1-1 ; Simerman (2B): 1-0-0-0 ; Clifton (CF/P/1B): 2-0-0-0 Roop (1B/P): 3-0-0-1 ; Owens (C): 2-0-0-0 ; Overmeyer (RF): 3-0-0-0 Lippi (LF): 3-0-1-0 ; Rickard (SS): 1-1-0-0 ; Krouse (P): 2-0-0-0, x- Johnson (PH): 1-0-0-0
Pitching:
WP: Ryan Stoller – 7.0 IP, 2 Runs, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BB, 1 HPB, 5 K LP: Jon Krouse – 5.0+ IP, 4 Runs, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 Balk