BY Daniel Joseph
DHI Media Correspondent
ST. MARYS –The St. Marys Roughriders put their undefeated ACME record on the line on Tuesday night as they welcomed Western Buckeye League rival Van Wert to K.C. Geiger Park. Though the Cougars jumped to an early lead, the ‘Riders stayed perfect with an 8-5 win.
The day didn’t start off well for St. Marys starter Joe Phenning, as he hit Justice Tussing with a pitch to begin the ball game. Tussing was then moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jacob Covey and later scored on Ryan Stoller’s shot to left field. The Cougars weren’t done yet, though, as pitcher Caleb Fetzer took a 1-0 pitch off the left-center field fence for a double to make it 2-0.
On the mound, Fetzer struggled to find the strike zone in the early going. He walked the bases loaded in each of the first two innings, and St. Marys right fielder Michael Harbaum scored in the second on a wild pitch. Colin Burke also scored in the frame when Austin Quellhorst grounded out. The game was tied going into the third inning.
“Baseball is a funny game,” said Van Wert head coach Karlin Dunlap. “Some days you go out there and you just don’t have it. Fetzer is one of our best pitchers and he just had one of those days today. He did a great job of fighting through those first couple of innings.”

After the first two batters in the bottom of the third reached base, Ethan Williams came in to relieve Fetzer on the mound. After a sacrifice bunt, Marshall Lining and Harbaum hit back-to-back doubles off of Williams, plating three total runs. Williams walked Burke in an 8-pitch at-bat before the Cougar defense helped him out with a double play to end the inning.
After the leadoff batter was retired on a ground out, the Cougars got two singles and a walk to juice the bags with just one out. Stoller popped out to third base with for the second out, bringing Fetzer to the plate. Fetzer lined a sharp single, and plated two runners to cut the ‘Rider lead to one. Mason Carr then singled up the middle scoring Covey and tying the game.
Ryan Stoller came into pitch in the top of the sixth inning and surrendered a single and a walk to the first two batters of the inning. After a fly out to center, Matt Douglas hit a 1-2 pitch off the center field fence for a 2-run double scoring a pair of Roughriders. Lininger then singled to center, scoring Douglas and giving St. Marys the 8-5 lead.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do when guys are hitting the ball,” said Dunlap. “You just have to fight through it and get the outs where you can get them. We played very solid defense tonight and thought that was crucial. They hit the ball extremely well tonight and you have to give credit to them.”
The Cougars fall to 8-3 on the ACME season and St.Marys moves to 5-0-1.
“We had some clutch at bats and hits that we really needed,” said Dunlap. “That’s what really got us back in this game. I couldn’t be happier with the way that we fought back tonight, I just wish we could have been on the other end.”
Van Wert 200 030 0- 5 7 0
St. Marys 023 003 x- 8 8 1
Van Wert (AB – Runs – Hits – RBI)
J. Tussing (SS): 2-2-2-0 ; J. Covey (2B): 2-1-0-0 ; R. Stoller (CF/P): 3-1-0-1, C. Fetzer (P/3B): 4-0-3-3 ; M. Carr (LF/CF): 4-0-1-1 ; J. Braun (3B/RF): 4-0-1-0, G. Cross (1B): 3-0-0-0 ; R. McCracken (C): 4-0-0-0 ; B. Mills (RF): 1-0-0-0, E. Williams (P): 2-1-1-0
WP: Michael Hastreiter – 2.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP
LP: Ryan Stoller – 1.0 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K
Save: Matt Douglas – 0.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K