Jackets hold off Flashes, move on to district final

FINDLAY – While the sky looked foreboding as the night wore on, there were no streaks of lightening or crimson.

And thanks to St. Joseph’s power outage, New Riegel held on to beat the Crimson Streaks, 3-2, in the Division IV baseball district semifinal Wednesday at the Marathon Diamonds.

“The guys find a way to fight through anything. They’ve had it the last five games. They won two in walk off (fashion),” New Riegel coach Jarron Reesman said.

St. Joe (15-15) could muster just two hits on the night but drew six walks and didn’t score until the sixth inning. Going into that frame, New Riegel hurler Brandyn Reinhart (7-1) had labored through five innings of work, throwing 98 pitches. But the sixth proved his toughest yet. After a strikeout opened the inning, Reinhart struck out Zach Yeckley for what should have been the second out, but a dropped third strike let Yeckley get to first. An error at second put runners on the corners and then Brett Michael walked to load the bases with one out. Matt Macielewicz singled to center, scoring Yeckley and Bennett Wickert.

Reinhart recovered after that, striking out Jacob Wurzel and getting Nolan Smith to pop out to end the threat.

“He wanted this win,” Reesman said. “I asked Brandyn before he went out there in the sixth and asked him a couple times during the sixth. He just gave me that wink and we were ready to go. I knew he was going to get us out.”

New Riegel meanwhile had seven hits and just one walk, but four St. Joe errors gave them additional base runners. However, the Blue Jackets couldn’t take advantage, leaving six men on base.

“It was a rough first four or five innings as far as errors we gave up, but we were able to hold them in a couple of situations,” St. Joe coach Robert George said. “But they were still able to get three runs. Had we been a little more fundamentally sound, this probably would have been a different game for us.”

Jake Dryfuse scored in the second on a Blaine Hughes triple. Hughes came in to score two batters later on an error on a dropped ball at first base to make it 2-0.

Dryfuse reached on an error in the sixth and was replaced by Nick Wank. He moved to second on a wild pitch and on to third on a passed ball. Aaron Acree singled to center, scoring Wank and giving New Riegel what turned out to be the winning run.

In the seventh, Brady Hall relieved Reinhart, who had thrown 126 pitches. Hall struck out the first batter and then walked Lucas Michael. A ground out moved Michael to second. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, leaving Yeckley with the tying run at third and representing the winning run himself. After a first-pitch ball, Yeckley launched a towering shot to center only to see Josh Nye come down with it, ending the game and St. Joe’s season.

“I was telling the other coach that any other game, that hit probably would have dropped,” George said. “It wasn’t our day, not our day today.”

It was not only Hall’s first save of the season but the Blue Jackets’ first save.

“Tonight Brady came up with a huge save. It was the first save of the year, which is huge,” Reesman said. “When you get a guy like Zach Yeckley out for the last out, it’s pretty clutch with the tying run on third.”

New Riegel moves on Friday to the district final where it will face McComb, which beat Gibsonburg 4-1 in the opener. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.