80’s pop star Billy Ocean once sang, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Rams incoming senior righty Casen Wolfrum most certainly can relate to Ocean’s lyrics.
They also say defense wins championships, but more on that later.
As he took the ball to the mound in the bottom of the first inning, Casen Wolfrum already knew it was going to be a long afternoon. His jersey was soaked, yet hadn’t thrown a single official pitch yet in the game. With the temp in the mid 80’s and the humidity high, Wolfrum would be battling not only the Versailles Tigers, but not stop perspiration.
Heading into the Final Four match-up in the State Acme semifinal game, the Rams bats were ready for the occasion. For the first time in weeks, the Rams lost the pre-game toss and were the visiting team this evening at Ed Sandy Field in Elida, Ohio.
Cole Commisso wasted no time getting the Ram train started. With a one out walk in the top of the first, Commisso sole second base, went to third on a passed ball, then scored on a Versailles error, giving the Rams a quick 1-0 lead after a half inning of play.
After a scoreless first, the Versailles Tigers answered with two runs in the bottom of the second, grabbing an early 2-1 lead over the Rams after two innings.
Now back to the defense wins championships reference. In the top of the third inning, trailing 2-1, the Tinora Rams battled back to grab a 3-2 lead. Another Cole Commisso walk, followed by an error resulting in Dalton Wolfrum reaching safely. A ground out by Eli Plassman scored Cole Commisso trying the game at 2-2. During an Eli Plassman steal attempt, Dalton Wolfum alertly darted home on the throw to second, giving the Rams a 3-2 lead after three and a half innings.
Heading into the fourth with a 3-2 lead, the wheels completely fell off the Versailles defense. Already with 3 errors through three innings, the Tigers committed 4 additional errors in the fourth inning, allowing the Tinora Rams to send 9 men to the plate, busting the game open with five runs in the fourth to increase their lead to 8-2.
Back to back doubles to the left field wall by the Tinora table setters, Jayden Bergman & Cole Commisso, ignited the Rams fourth inning explosion. Ty Weimken, Bergman, Commisso, Ward, & Dalton Wolfrum all scoring for Tinora in the fourth. Tiger starter Eli McEldowney exited after 3 2/3 innings, replacing him was Tiger lefty, Landon Henry.
Over the next few Innings, Casen Wolfrum showed what is meant by grinding to the end, never giving up. Despite constant base runners during innings four through the sixth, Wolfrum never gave in, kept reaching back for more.
Wolfrum allowed just 1 run during this timeframe, dodging a few walks along the way, Wolfrum actually didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, despite giving up the two early runs in the second to the tiger offense.
Heading into the top of the sixth, leading 8-3, the Rams bats added two more runs by Dalton Wolfrum & Teron Ward, increasing their lead to 10-3 over Versailles.
The rope finally gave out on Rams starter Casen Wolfrum in the bottom of the sixth, battling 7 walks and exhaustion, Wolfrum exited with a 10-3 lead with one out in the sixth.
Enter junior Korbin Casteel. Casteel was thrown right into the frying pan with runners on first & second. Casteel gave up a single to left, charging the ball was Monday’s hero on the hill, Jayden Bergman. Bergman threw a laser to third baseman Teron Ward, who fired home to get the second out of the inning, Rams catcher Ty Wiemken tagging the runner out at the plate for the out. After a Casteel walk loaded the bases, he reached back for some extra gas, striking out Trey Mills to end the Tigers threat in the sixth.
Casteel came out for the seventh, retiring the Versailles Tigers in order, sending the Rams to the State Acme Championship game.
For their efforts, Casen Wolfrum & Cole Commisso were named the co Higbea Embroidery players of the game.
The Rams will face the Defiance Bulldogs at 6 pm in Elida for the right to hoist the 2021 Acme trophy. That’s right, two schools 10 minutes apart with take the hr drive for a chance to play for a state championship. Who could ask for more?
Defiance defeated Van Wert 9-8 in 9 innings in game one of the day, a nail-biter for both teams.
Tinora improves to 23-2, Defiance comes in with a 20-4-1 record.
W: Casen Wolfrum
L: Eli McEldowney
Bergman: 2B, run
Cole Commisso: 3 runs, 2 BB; double, SB
Dalton Wolfrum: 3 runs, single (reached 3 times on 3 errors)
Teron Ward 3 singles, BB 2 runs
Christina Commisso: Double
Bryce Bailey: BB; single, RBI
Note: Tinora defeated Defiance 4-1 in spring season. Tristan Birks with the complete game win for the Rams.
We’ll see everyone from Defiance County at Elida on Tuesday evening.