In a matchup of two of the hottest teams in Northwest Ohio, The Fairview Apaches came to Tinora to take on the Rams of Tinora for the chance to move on in the OHSAA playoffs. The weather matched the teams, as the temperature at game time was 87 degrees at Tinora High School.
Not only were the teams hot, the weather hot, but Fairview lead man Andy Singer and Tinora headman Brent Renollet brought a combined 40 years of coaching experience into the sectional finals. Both Singer and Renollet had a combined 664-244 record, a 73% winning percentage, as they brought their teams into the much-anticipated rematch. Back on April 13, the Rams defeated the Apaches 10-5 in a game much closer than the final score.
The Apaches sent out senior highhanded Caleb Frank, Frank came in with a 1.59 ERA, the entire Fairview staff had a season ERA of just 2.37. The Rams sent out 2021 GMC player of the year, senior righty Andrew Imthurn, Imthurn came in with an 8-0 record and a 2.18 season ERA.
The Rams bats were as hot as the air in their bottom half of inning one. Tinora’s first four batters reached safely off Frank. Rams lead-off hitter Nolan Schafer started the inning with a single, followed by another single by senior shortstop Marcus Grube. The Grube single scored Schafer who stole second and went to third on the throwing error. POY Andrew Imthurn walked, bringing up Cole Commisso. A Commisso single scored Grube giving the Rams a 2-0 lead with no one out.
After a strikeout for the first out, the next two Rams hitters may have had the 2 most key at-bats in the game. The Rams first baseball sent a deep drive to left field, sending Apaches right fielder Austin Lashaway smashing into the fence, the Commisso drive hit near the top of the fence, missing a three-run home run by 24 inches. The Commisso smash resulted in just an RBI single, scoring Imthurn, giving the Rams a 3-0 lead. Up stepped Tinora right fielder Jayden Bergman with Rams runners on first and second. Bergman sent a line drive headed to left field, unfortunately in the way was Fairview third baseman Jackson Grine. Grine was in the right place at the right time, snagging the liner off Bergman’s bat, doubling off the runner at second to end the Rams inning.
Over the next few innings, both Imthurn and Frank sent most batters back to their respective benches empty-handed.
Fairview finally broke through to score two runs off Tinora’s Imthurn. Runs by Lashaway & Ripke cut the Rams lead to 3-2 after the third inning.
Neither team could get going over the next few innings, Ripke settled down after the rough first inning while Imthurn settled back in over the next few innings as well. Tinora led Fairview 3-3 as teams headed to the sixth inning.
The middle part of Andy Singers order was headed to the plate vs the senior Imthurn. Jackson Grine singled to center, followed by a Ronnie Adkins single off the glove of pitcher Imthurn to start the Fairview offense. After a strikeout for the first out of the inning, and runners on first and third, Brady Karzynow walked to load the bases for Fairview. Up stepped Apache Austin Lashaway with the Rams infield each playing in on the grass. Lashaway sent a one hopper off the hard Tinora infield dirt over the head of Rams third baseman Casen Wolfrum into left field, scoring both Grine and Adkins giving Fairview a 4-3 lead. With one out, a Rams throwing error allowed Karyznow to score from third, increasing the Fairview lead to 5-3 after six.
After an infield single to start the seventh, Imthurn exited and Jayden Bergman entered the game on the mound for Tinora. The Apaches added another run, a Caleb Frank run off a Jackson Grine RBI single, giving the Apaches a 6-3 lead.
After a lead off walk to Kade Vogelsong to start the bottom of the seventh for the Rams, the senior Caleb Frank retired the next three Rams hitters, sending the Apaches home with a 6-3 win over the Tinora Rams.
In winning, Fairview advances to Defiance High School where they will play Archbold on May 27.
Fairview is now 15-10, Andy Singer with win #299.
With the loss, the Rams Cinderella season comes to an end, finishing 23-5.
Playing in their final home game were seniors. Marcus & Max Grube, Ben Mendez Zach Spychala, Kade Vogelsong, Andrew Imthurn, & Jacob Bailey. Best wishes on your future, and thank you for a fantastic ride this season, Each of you has left footprints that will last forever on the baseball field at Tinora.
Nolan Schafer: 2-4, R
Cole Commisso: 2-3 R, RBI
Andrew Imthurn: 6 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K
Jayden Bergman: IP, 0 R, H, K