NAPOLEON – On a beautiful Saturday for baseball, The Tinora Rams loaded the bus and headed over to Booster’s Field to face the Wildcats of Napoleon in a non-conference game.
What transpired on the mound for the Tinora Rams was nothing short of amazing.
Making his first start since his freshman season, and his first appearance on the mound since the summer of 2020, senior righty Nolan Schafer took the ball for the Rams as they put their 5-0 mark against the 4-3 Wildcats. No one knew what was to come over the next 1 hr and 45 minutes, includer Schafer himself.
The hot hitting Rams senior Cole Commisso got things off to a quick start. Coming off a HR and 9 RBI game vs Hilltop on Thursday, Commisso smashed a pitch from Wildcats starter Lucas Gerken over the right field fence for a two run homerun, scoring Kadyyn Radzik who singled, giving the Rams a 2-0 lead after one half inning.
Rams head coach Brent Renollet saw his starter Schafer retire 9 of the first 10 Wildcats he faced. Trey Rubinstein singled in the third off Schafer.
Napoleon finally got to Schafer in the fourth, scoring a single run. A two out triple by Tanner Rubinstein was just the second hitter to reach vs Schafer. Angelo Gonzalez singled to score Rubinstein, cutting the Rams lead in half, 2-1 after four innings.
The Tinora bats got going again in the fifth inning, after one out, Kadyn Radzik was hit by a pitch, Commisso smashed a single to left, Casen Wolfrum walked to load the bases with two out. Senior Tristan Birks stepped in, smashing a single, scoring two runners to give the Rams a 4-1 lead after five innings.
As each inning passed, the Tinora senior making his first start in years kept coming back to the hill, before everyone knew, it was the bottom of the fourth, then fifth, then sixth, and Nolan Schafer was still throwing strikes, with exceptional command.
Napoleon would break through for their second run on the Tinora starter in the bottom of the sixth. Kaleb Woods singled to start the inning, after a fielders choice by Blake Wolf, a one out double by Tanner Rubinstein scored Wolf, cutting the Tinora lead to 4-2.
With Rubinstein at third and two out, Bryce Martinez sent an opposite field liner to right field, Tinora right fielder Luke Harris saved the day with an all out diving catch to save a run, ending the inning on a spectacular play, the Rams held onto the 4-2 lead after six.
The Rams lead man for 22 seasons, Brent Renollet rolled the dice with Nolan and sent him back out for the seventh. With Eli Plassman waiting if needed, Schafer looked to close out the win for the Rams.
With his pitch count rising, and his tank on fumes, Schafer allowed a leadoff single to the ‘Cats Luke Hardy. Schafer got a fielders choice, then a fly out to right for two outs. The Napoleon Wildcats were down to their final out. Schafer would walk leadoff man Devin Dietrich, then walk Kalem Woods to load the basses with two outs.
With Renollet pacing in the dugout like a caged Tiger, he left his senior three sport athlete on the hill. Up next, #3 hitter, Blake Wolf.
Wolf sent the first pitch he saw like a rocket on the ground to Tinora second baseman Cole Commisso. Commisso scooped it up and flipped to shortstop Kadyn Radzik for the final out, preserving the Rams 4-2 win for Schafer.
The Tinora senior ended with a complete game win, allowing just two runs on seven hits. Schafer walked three while striking out two.
Lukas Gerken starter for Napoleon, he went the first five innings. Brett Bostleman came on to pitch the final two innings for Napoleon.
Cole Commisso remained hot for the Rams, reaching all four plate appearances
Tinora improves to 6-0. The Rams have a busy week with road games at Toledo Start on Monday, at Hicksville on Tuesday, and at Ayersville on Thursday.
Napoleon falls to 4-4, the Wildcats will face Slyvania Southview on 4/20.
The Higbea Embroidery Player of the game was split between Nolan Schafter and Cole Commisso, Great job, gentleman.
Tinora 200 020 0 4
Napoleon 000 101 0 2
Commisso: HR, 2 1B, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R
Radzik 1B, HP, 2 R
Bergman 2 BB
Birks 1B, 2 RBI
Trey Rubinstein 1B
Tanner Rubinstein 2B, 3B, R
Pics courtesy Stacey Bailey