Columbus Grove freshman Reid Stechschutle fouls a ball off at home plate during the Bulldogs’ Division IV District final loss to Patrick Henry Friday at Elida. (dhi MEDIA/Jim Metcalfe)
Columbus Grove freshman Reid Stechschutle fouls a ball off at home plate during the Bulldogs’ Division IV District final loss to Patrick Henry Friday at Elida. (dhi MEDIA/Jim Metcalfe)
dhiMEDIA Sports Editor
ELIDA — Friday afternoon was an almost perfect spring day for the Columbus Grove and Patrick Henry Division IV District baseball final at Elida’s Ed Sandy Memorial Field.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Patriots had a great first inning to put themselves in the driver’s seat on their way to an 11-0 5-inning rout.
The Patriots (20-9) advance to a Regional semifinal at their own diamond at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Kollin Spence (7-0; 53 pitches, 31 strikes) twirled a 3-hitter to pace the Patriots, walking two and hitting two.

“Spence kept us off-balance. He got ahead of the count and made us hit his pitch,” Grove coach Cory King explained. “We did get some baserunners against him, but we couldn’t get the clutch hit, especially early. We really wanted to get a run early.”
Patriot coach Shawn Sunderman agreed with his counterpart’s assessment of his senior right-hander.
“Kollin didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled. He only had one strikeout, which says a lot about our defense,” Sunderman said. “He threw strikes, mixed his pitches up and, because he threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, they had to hit his pitch.”
The Bulldogs (16-13) had their first best chance against Spence in the top of the first frame with a leadoff single by Riley Brubaker (2-for-3) — the only Grove player with a multi-hit game — a Reid Stechschulte sacrifice, stolen base and a 2-out free pass to Mason Smith. However, they could not take advantage.
The Patriots used small-ball — only having one double amongst their 10 hits, but also utilizing four bases-on-balls, one hit batter and two Grove errors to do the damage.
Grove starter Ryan Verhoff (3-2) only faced four batters in the bottom of the first but gave up three hits, a hit batter and four earned runs. Josh Verhoff relieved and faced the next seven batters. When all was said and done in the frame, the Patriots had sent 11 men to the dish and scored seven runs, registering five hits and two walks.
“That was not the way we wanted to start. I wanted to have our best defensive team out there from the start,” King said. “They didn’t hit our pitchers hard, but they found gaps. Plus, there is no defense for walks and hit batters. With having to go 11 innings Wednesday, I wasn’t sure what I was going to. We went with the guys we had, but it was difficult for them.”
Sunderman got exactly what he was hoping for.
“You hope to have a start like this, but you don’t expect it. We’ve needed a breakout game like this,” he added. “It’s so much easier for your pitcher to get staked to a lead like that. He can relax; he pitched like someone who had a big lead.”
Marcos Olivo was stranded with a 2-out base hit in the top of the second.
The Patriots added their last four runs in the second frame, including the only extra-base hit — a 2-run double by Logan Ziegler (2 runs, 3 runs batted in) that chased Josh Verhoff after only three batters in the second for Riley Brubaker. Four hits, a walk and an error produced the 11-0 lead after two frames.
Grove put two on with two down in the third: Josh Verhoff was hit by a pitch and a 2-base throwing error on Smith’s grounder, but stranded both.
Brubaker stranded a pair of Patriots in the bottom of the third.
Brubaker had the only 1-2-3 inning by a Grove hurler in the fourth.
The Bulldogs had their best try to score in the top of the fifth with one out: a sharp hit by Brubaker, a hit batter (Stechschulte) and a walk to Josh Verhoff. However, Smith and Tanner Neu were retired to end the game and the season for the ’Dogs.
“I am so proud of what this team accomplished,” King added. “We lost nine very talented seniors from last year and coming into camp this year, I don’t think anyone was thinking we had a chance to get to the districts for the first time since 1994.”

Riley Brubaker c/p 3-0-2-0, Reid Stechschulte lf 1-0-0-0, Josh Verhoff ss/p 1-0-0-0, Mason Smith dh 2-0-0-0, Zach Brinkman rf 0-0-0-0, Tanner Neu cf 3-0-0-0, Zach Shafer 3b 2-0-0-0, Logan Diller 1b 2-0-0-0, Ryan Verhoff p 0-0-0-0, Marcos Olivo 2b 2-0-1-0, Elisha Jones 2b/ss/c 2-0-0-0. Totals 18-0-3-0.
Derek Hoops ss 4-1-1-0, Kollin Spence p 3-1-1-0, Joe Nickels 2b 1-2-1-0, Kyler Seemann c 2-2-2-1, Logan Ziegler 1b 2-2-1-3, Josh Petersen 3b 3-0-0-0, Derek Kolpien cf 2-1-1-2, Jake Montana dh 3-2-1-1, Neil Storch rf 0-0-0-0, Brad Breece lf 3-0-2-1. Totals 23-11-10-8.
Score by Innings:
Columbus Grove 0 0 0 0 0 - 0
Patrick Henry 7 4 0 0 x - 11
E: Stechschulte, J. Verhoff, Petersen; LOB: Columbus Grove 8, Patrick Henry 5; 2B: Ziegler; Sac: Stechschulte.
R. Verhoff (L, 3-2) 0.0 3 4 4 0 0
J. Verhoff 1.0 4 6 5 3 2
Brubaker 3.0 3 1 0 1 3
Spence (W, 7-0) 5.0 3 0 0 2 1
Binkley 2.0 2 2 2 2 1
R. Verhoff pitched to 4 batters in 1st
J. Verhoff pitched to 3 batters in 2nd
WP: R. Verhoff, J. Verhoff, Brubaker; HBP: Stechschulte (by Spence), J. Verhoff (by Spence), Nickels (by R. Verhoff); BB: J. Verhoff, Smith, Nickels, Seemann, Ziegler, Kolpien.