The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Cougars rally but fall in ACME semifinals

Van Wert independent sports

ELIDA — A spirited comeback by Van Wert fell just short in the ACME state semifinals at Ed Sandy Field on Monday.

After falling behind 8-0 to Defiance, the Cougars managed to tie the game but the Bulldogs scored a run in the top of the ninth for a 9-8 victory. The win put Defiance (20-4-1) in today’s state championship game, while Van Wert’s season ended at 19-3.

Already leading 3-0, the Bulldogs scored five runs in the top of the fifth, including a pair of two-RBI doubles by Bradyn Shaw and Aidan Kiessling.

Van Wert got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fifth, then the Cougars exploded for seven runs in the sixth, including a Kaiden Bates RBI double, a two-RBI single by TJ Stoller and a sacrifice fly by Aidan Pratt that tied the game 8-8.

After a scoreless eighth inning, Defiance’s Jayden Jerger hit an RBI triple that scored Kiessling, which proved to be the winning run. Van Wert had two runners on in the bottom of the ninth when Turner Witten reached on an error and Damon McCracken was hit by a pitch, but the Cougars were unable to score.

Jerger led Defiance with a 3-for-5 performance with three RBIs, while Shaw and Kam Ron Rivera also had three hits. Stoller led Van Wert with two hits and two RBIs while Rupert also knocked in a pair of runs.

On the mound, Shaw and Wade Liffick combined to strike out 12 Van Wert batters. Rupert pitched the first 4 1/3 innings for the Cougars and gave up seven hits with a pair of strikeouts, three walks and eight runs (six earned). Joshua Reichert went four innings and allowed three hits and a run, while Stoller pitched the remaining 2/3 inning and fanned two.

Defiance will play Tinora for the state title at 6 p.m. tonight.

POSTED: 07/19/21 at 9:05 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports