The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Cougars sink Vermilion for regional title

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

BOWLING GREEN — Owen Treece pitched seven innings of four hit ball and Jalen McCracken drove four runs to help Van Wert capture the school’s first ever regional baseball championship with a resounding 13-2 win over the Vermilion Sailors at Carter Park on Friday.

It was the 19th consecutive win for the Cougars (27-2), and it propelled the team into the Division II state semifinals.

Owen Treece held Vermilion to just four hits while striking out seven Sailor batters. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Treece struck out seven and walked just one, while McCracken delivered a third inning two out, two-RBI single that plated Parker Conrad and TJ Reynolds. McCracken, who was 4-4 at the plate, also singled and drove in Owen Treece and Reynolds as part of a seven run seventh inning.

“That’s Owen, he’s just going to throw strikes at you, Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said of Treece. “We played pretty good defense behind him, so that helps him.”

Van Wert’s 7-8-9 hitters, Reynolds, Keaton Brown and McCracken combined to go 6-10.

“It’s kind of superstitious and intentional,” Witten said about the bottom of the order. “That’s the way we started the year, then I toyed with the lineup a couple of times then kind of went back to this and once we started rolling I didn’t change it at all.”

The game was scoreless entering the fourth inning, but an RBI single by Conrad allowed Lawson Blackmore to cross home plate, then two batters later, McCracken increased the lead to 3-0.

The Sailors scored both of their runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. A sacrifice fly by Reese Miller plated Ridge Clark, then with two outs, Noah Cacciatore singled home Mason Montgomery. The inning ended when Montgomery was tagged out advancing to third.

Jalen McCracken is safe at second base. Mccracken had four hits and four RBIs. Bob Barnes photo

After a scoreless fifth inning, Reynolds walked in the sixth, followed by back to back singles by Keaton Brown and McCracken. With two outs, Jake Lautzenheiser delivered a single that scored Reynolds and Brown, then McCracken scored on a single by Hayden Maples to increase the lead to 6-2.

The floodgates opened in the seventh.

After McCracken’s second two-RBI single, Amweg doubled and drove in Brown and McCracken, then three batters later, Nathan Temple accounted for the final three runs when he crushed a double to the center field fence, scoring Amweg, Lautzenheiser and Maples.

“We just kind of got on a roll there and everyone got confident at the same time,” Witten said. “It was good to see.”

The Cougars pounded out 13 hits against three Vermilion pitchers. Montgomery went the first 4.1 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Jacob Krausher pitched two innings and gave up 10 runs on six hits, while Reese Miller gave up a hit in two thirds of an inning.

The Cougars will face No. 1 Dayton Chaminade Julienne, Granville, Hamilton Ross or Franklin in Saturday’s 1 p.m. Division II semifinals at Canal Park in Akron. Those four teams will play their semifinal games in Mason today, with the regional championship game slated for Sunday.

Line Score

Van Wert 000 303 7 – 13 13 1
Vermilion 000 200 0 – 2 4 2

Box score

Van Wert (ab-r-h-rbi): Jaxson Amweg 5-1-1-2; Jake Lautzenheiser 4-1-2-2; Hayden Maples 3-1-1-1; Nathan Temple 5-0-1-3; Lawson Blackmore 4-1-1-0; Parker Conrad 3-1-1-1; Owen Treece 0-1-0-0; TJ Reynolds 3-3-1-0; Mason McHugh 1-0-0-0; Keaton Brown 3-2-1-0; Jackson McCracken 4-2-4-4

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-so-bb): 7.0, 4-2-2-7-1

Vermilion (ab-r-h-rbi): Jack Wells 3-0-1-0; Sam Herron 1-0-0-0; Ridge Clark 3-1-0-0; Mason Montgomery 3-1-2-0; Jacob Krausher 2-0-0-0; Reese Miller 2-0-0-0; Noah Cacciatore 3-0-1-1; Ethan Young 1-0-0-0; James Matheson 1-0-0-0; Ryan Habermehl 1-0-0-0; Sterling 2-0-0-0; Mark Morris 1-0-0-0; Cody Shultz 0-0-0-0

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-so-bb): Mason Montgomery 4.1, 6-3-3-3; Jacob Krausher 2.0, 6-10-6-1-4; Reese Miller 0.2, 1-0-0-0-1

POSTED: 05/31/19 at 10:47 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports