Lady Cougars come from behind to win

VAN WERT — The Van Wert Lady Cougars faced off against the St. Marys Roughriders on Friday night at Jubilee Park for Western Buckeye League softball action. The Lady Cougars used a big fourth frame to pick up a 7-4 victory.

Van Wert started the bottom of the first with a lead-off single from Laine Spoor and, after a bunt from Alexis Metz moved Spoor into scoring position, Lauren Moore laced a sharp single into left field to score Spoor and give Van Wert a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Roughriders got on the scoreboard in the top of the third as Haley Ellis worked a walk and Kylie Lauth also reached base on an error. The next batter, Abbi Chorvas, singled to right field and a Lady Cougar error allowed one run to score. Lexi Fawler grounded out to Van Wert shortstop Katie Coplin to drive in the second run of the game for St. Marys.

St. Marys again put runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as Rylee Burd singled and Alyssa Alexander reached on an error. The Lady Roughriders scored the first run of the frame on a wild pitch, and Lauth got an RBI base hit to left field to make the score 4-1. On Lauth’s base hit, Adrianna Grothause fired a strike to Coplin, who relayed a throw to catcher Katlyn Dickson, who applied a tag to St. Marys base runner Avrie Rasneor for the third out of the inning.

“Hats off to St. Marys, that pitcher was probably one of the faster pitchers we have seen all year. So before we came out in the fourth, we talked about getting back to the basics. Getting a correct swing and putting the bat on the ball,” Van Wert assistant Sean Kennedy said. “With all that, along with our aggressive base running, we were able to put up some runs.”

The Cougars bounced back in the bottom of the fourth as Grothause, Coplin and Olivia Kline all reached base on base hits and getting to Cougars to within 4-3. Van Wert then took the lead with a 2-run single by Metz to go ahead 5-4.

Van Wert picked up two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth as Metz and Moore reached base. Metz eventually scored on an error. After Grothause singled to put runners on the corners, Coplin drove home Moore with a single.

The Lady Cougars got a strong pitching performance for Spoor, who remains unbeaten on the year (5-0). She allowed six hits and four walks and struck out five batters. Kline picked up the lone extra-base hit in the game with two-out double.

St. Marys drops to 2-7 on the year and 1-3 in the WBL. Van Wert improves to 5-1 on the year and 2-0 in the WBL. The Lady Cougars face off against Paulding in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.

Miscues cost Cougars in loss at St. Marys

ST. MARYS — The Van Wert baseball team traveled to St. Marys on Friday to take on the WBL rival Roughriders. The Cougars let an early lead slip away as they fell 8-7.

Van Wert got off to a hot start by plating four runs in the opening frame. Jake Lautzenheiser and TJ Reynolds scored on an error to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead with a runner on third with no outs. Nathan Temple reached on an error and scored Hayden Maples, then he came around to score on another error to make it 4-0, Van Wert.

Braeden Dunlap put the Roughriders on the board with solo home run in the bottom of the first and cut the Cougar lead to three.

Miscues plagued both teams and in the top of the second inning, Jonathon Lee scored on a wild pitch by Dunlap and made it 5-1.

The Roughriders cut the lead to two with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Trey Fisher and Carter Ballweg crossed home plate to chip away at the Cougar advantage, and after two innings of play it was 5-3.

The Cougars added a run in the top of the third when James Acquaviva came around to score on a ground ball out by Jalen McCracken. Van Wert enjoyed a 3-run lead before St. Marys unleashed in the bottom of the inning.

The Roughriders scored three times in the bottom of the fourth. They produced three hits and racked up four stolen bases to tie the ball game at 6-6. Van Wert recaptured the lead in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by McCracken that scored Acquaviva. They had a chance to extend their lead with two runners in scoring position, but failed to convert as the game headed to bottom of the inning.

Van Wert watched the game slip through its fingers in the bottom of the sixth. Austin Wilker tied the game on a squeeze play that was perfectly executed by the Roughriders. Drew Jacobs scored on a single by Wyatt Bailey to make it 8-7.

The Cougars got a runner on in the seventh but couldn’t bring him around as St. Marys picked up its first win of the season.

Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said mental errors were key. “It was a sloppy game all around on both sides. When you give teams extra chances it will come back and bite you, and that is what happened today. We gave them too many chances and they took advantage of it.”

Van Wert falls to 3-2 (1-2 WBL) while St Marys advances to 1-7 (1-3 WBL)

Cougars rough up Celina

VAN WERT — With the weather finally breaking on Thursday, Van Wert’s bat thawed out as well. The Cougars pounded out 11 hits en route to a 12-0, 5-inning win over Celina at Russell Fisher Field.

The Bulldogs committed 5 errors in the game, and Van Wert took advantage. The Cougars threatened in the opening inning, but a ground ball off the bat of Lawson Blackmore shoud have ended the inning. Instead, Celina third baseman Gabe Perry couldn’t field it cleanly, then fired a rushed throw too high for the first baseman. Those two errors made it 2-0. Two batters later, James Acquaviva smoked a ball into the deep right-center field gap for a 2-run double and a 4-0 lead after one inning.

“James has been huge, going back to even last year,” Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said. “It seems like he’s always up in that situation, with two outs and runners in scoring position, and more times than not it seems like he gets that job done.”

The Cougars (3-1, 1-1 WBL) added four more runs in the home half of the second, chasing Celina starter Nash Weimart in the process. Weimart gt into trouble after one was out. Jake Lautzenheiser then dropped a soft line drive into left field for a single, and TJ Reynolds followed with a liner to right to put two aboard. After both runners stole bases, Cougar pitcher Hayden Maples brought them both in with a 2-run single to left and a 6-0 lead.

That was all for Weimart, but the Cougars hitters were far from finished. With Perry taking over on the hill, Nathan Temple smoked an RBI double before scoring on Blackmore’s chopper into center field for an 8-0 lead.

Perry started the third, but walked two hitters before moving back to third base in favor of Ethan Piper. The Cougars cashed in both of those runs, with even more help coming from Perry. He committed two more errors in the inning, leading to three unearned runs. Reynolds had an RBI single as a part of the parade Cougar baserunners in the inning.

“This was a 100 percent team effort today,” Witten said. “They all hit the ball, not only the nine starters but the guys you saw coming off the bench were up there ready to swing. It’s tough making out a lineup right now because we have som many guys who can contribute; it’s a good problem to have.”

The offense was backing Maples, who did a fine job of navigating some early command issues while dealing with the lingering effects of being hit in the wrist by a pitch just two days prior. He strated the bases loaded in the first, then worked out of another jam in the second before finding his groove. All told, Maples needed 88 pitches to complete the five innings on the hill, which he finished off by getting Perry to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.

WBL powerhouse Wapak overcomes Van Wert with 5th-inning rally

VAN WERT — Van Wert’s pitching staff did not allow so much as a single base hit through its first two games this season. Facing one of the region’s top teams on Tuesday at Russell Fisher Field, the Cougars couldn’t prevent Wapakoneta from reaching base early and often en route to a 11-2 Redskins win.

The Redskins took advantage of 8 walks handed out by Cougar pitchers and 5 errors made by the Van Wert defense. Those mistakes proved to be insurmountable against Wapak right hander Manny Vorhees, who limited the Cougar bats to 6 hits and 1 earned run in his 7 innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out 10.

It was the top of the Wapakoneta order that did in the Cougars on Tuesday. Vorhees, battings econd, and leadoff man Don Goodes combined to go 5-for-8 at the plate with 6 runs scored and 3 RBIs. The duo also accounted for the only two extra-base hits of the game for Van Wert.

The Cougars’ top hitter was junior Lawson Blackmore, who singled and doubled in three trips. On the mound, however, it was not Blackmore’s day. The hard-throwing right hander battled his control throughout his 5-inning, 116-pitch effort on Tuesday. He allowed 4 hits and 5 walks, but struck out 6. He was charged with 5 runs, though only 3 were earned.

The first Redskins run scored on a squeeze play, but Van Wert knotted the game when Owen Treece reached on an error, allowing Darius Eddins to score in the bottom of the fourth.

A Cougar error brought two Wapak runs home in the fifth, but Van Wert got one back on Hayden Maples’ 2-out RBI single in the bottom half.

The wheels fell off for the Cougars in the sixth. Back-to-back singles opened the inning against Blackmore, who had thrown 103 pitches coming into the frame. He was lifted with two aboard, and Maples took over on the hill, but he was greeted by Goodes’ 2-run triple to right. Vorhees then added a run-scoring double to make it 6-2, Redskins.

Wapak wasn’t done. They added three more runs in the inning and tacked on one more in the top of the seventh to set the final margin.

Crestview hosts Celina, Van Wert in tri-meet

CONVOY — Mother Nature continues to make outdoor events difficult on local coaches, fans and athletes. Tuesday was no different as area track and field teams competed in the Crestview tri-meet in Convoy.

Celina took the top spot in both boys and girls overall results with Van Wert finishing second and host Crestview third.

Van Wert head coach Mark Collins was pleased with his team’s effort. “We had a pretty good meet here today. We didn’t run all of our ‘A’ team, so we rested some kids and tried some different things. Overall the kids did fairly well.

“On the boy’s side, Jacob Hart won the 100 and 200-meter. On the girl’s side we had a freshman girl (Gracie Gunter) win the high jump, so overall it was a good meet for us.”

The Van Wert boys finished second with 46.5 points while the girls also placed second with a score of 66.5. Caylee Phillips was a key contributor to her team’s overall score by winning the 200-meter dash. Blake Henry won the boys high jump, Megan Braun easily won then girls long jump, and Eli Rager won the boys long jump for the Cougars.

Siblings Austin Clay (shot put) and Kirsten Clay (discuss) also won events. Abby Jackson won the girls’ shot competition.

The young Crestview Knight squad showed some improvement according to head coach James Lautzenheiser. “We are a young team, but we are an exciting team. We have had great numbers for both boy’s and girl’s. Last year we were mostly a girls’ team, and this year we are evened up at about 28 each. We also feel like we are competitive in more events this year compared to last year, which is always awesome if you’re a head coach.”

The Knights finished third in boy’s events with a score of 27, while the girl’s placed third with a score of 13.

“We have some things to work on with our relay like making better hand-offs, but we were able to compete in the boy’s 400x2 and that was an exciting race. I feel like our girl’s 400x1 is coming together, and we had some good things happen in the guy’s 4x400,” said Lautzenheiser.

Tyler White placed first in the 110-meter hurdles and second in the 300-meter hurdles. His standout performance was an eye-catcher for the Crestview coaching staff.

“Our highlight for our team tonight is Tyler White in hurdles. He is coming back from a season-ending injury that he suffered at conference finals last year. He had a knee injury that cut his tournament trail short and could have made it to regional finals in my point of view, so we are really excited to see him make a comeback in his senior year,” Lautsenheiser concluded.

Van Wert will continue their season at the Ottawa-Glandorf Gold Medal Invitational on Friday while the Knights travel to Coldwater on Thursday for a quad-meet.

Treece tosses no-no as Cougars blank Fairview

VAN WERT — The Van Wert Cougars welcomed the Fairview Apaches to Russell Fisher Field at Smiley Park for boys’ non-conference baseball action on Monday night. The Cougars no-hit the Apaches 2-0 to pick up their second victory of the year and second straight no-hitter for the Cougar pitching staff.

Monday night was the Cougars second game of the year it was also the Cougars second no-hitter of the season. So far this young baseball season, Van Wert has thrown 14 innings of no-hit baseball, and the starting pitcher, Owen Treece, has tossed 10 straight innings of no-hit baseball.

In the top of the first inning, Treece induced three straight ground balls to second baseman TJ Reynolds to retire the Apaches one-two-three.

The Cougars got a little something cooking in the bottom of the inning, as Hayden Maples singled to put runners at the corners with one out. Hunter Fritch, the Fairview hurler, retired the next two Van Wert batters to end the frame.



In the top of the second inning is when Treece lost the perfect game as, with two outs, Kevin Thomas worked a 6-pitch walk. Treece quickly responded by striking out the next Fairview batter.

The Cougars finally were able to dent the plate in the bottom of the fifth as Jonathan Lee singled to start the inning. Lee moved to third thanks to a balk and a wild pitch before Reynolds walked and stole second to put runners at second and third. Keaton Brown hit a slow ground ball to the right side of the infield to score Lee.

The next batter, Maples lifted a fly ball to left field that was caught by Ripke who fired the ball to catcher Caleb Frank, who applied the tag on Reynolds for the final out of the frame.

Treece was still on the mound to start the top of the sixth and had already retired 10 straight Fairview batters and retired the next three on balls that never left the infield.

In the bottom of the sixth, Van Wert was looking for a little insurance and Nate Temple led off the frame with a solid hit just under the shortstop’s glove. Jalen McCracken replaced Temple on the base path and, after a sacrifice bunt and ground ball to the right side of the infield, McCracken stood on third base with two outs. Lawson Blackmore lined a ball up the middle of the diamond to score McCracken and give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage.

Treece went out in the top of the seventh looking to complete the contest and his no-hitter. After striking out the first batter, Treece induced ground balls to Blackmore and Jaxson Amweg his third baseman and shortstop respectively to give Van Wert its second victory in has many games and second no-hitter of the season.

“Obviously Owen had a real good pitching performance, and we talked in our huddle about giving Maples a lot of credit behind the dish. Behind Owen, the whole team did a great job playing defense. This is something pretty nice for us to achieve back-to-back no-hitters; I don’t think it has ever happened since I have been around,” said Van Wert baseball coach Charlie Witten.

Fairview drops to 2-1 on the year and will travel to Wayne Trace High School on Tuesday night to take on the Raiders. Van Wert improves to 2-0 on the season and kicks off Western Buckeye League play against the Wapakoneta Redskins at Russell Fisher Field on Tuesday.

Fairview 0

Ian Groves 3b 3-0-0-0, Caleb Frank c 3-0-0-0, Cade Ripke lf 3-0-0-0, Hunter Fritch p 3-0-0-0, Austin Bostater 1b 2-0-0-0, Kevin Thomas DH Alex Layman rf 1-0-0-0, JT Nusbaum 2b 2-0-0-0, Cade Polter ss 2-0-0-0, Chayse Singer cf 2-0-0-0, Total 21-0-0-0

Van Wert 2

TJ Reynolds 2b 1-0-0-0, Keaton Brown rf 3-0-0-1, Hayden Maples c 3-0-2-0, Nathan Temple 1b 2-0-1-0, Jalen McCracken pr 0-1-0-0, James Acquaviva lf 2-0-0-0, Owen Treece p 2-0-0-0, Lawson Blackmore 3b 2-0-1-1, Ryan Hollingworth dh Jaxson Amweg ss 2-0-0-0, Jonathon Lee cf 1-1-1-0, Total 18-2-5-2

F 000 000 0 0 0 0

V 000 011 X 2 5 0


Hunter Fritch (LP) 6 innings 2 runs 5 hits 4 walks 2 balks strikeout

Van Wert

Owen Treece (WP) 7 innings walk 7 strikeouts

SB: Van Wert (Maples, Reynolds, Blackmore)

Pitches-Strikes: Fritch 90-56 Treece 93-64

Van Wert claims inaugural Cancer Classic

CONVOY — Van Wert came away with wins over Wayne Trace and Lincolnview to capture the inaugural Cancer Classic softball tournament at Crestview on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Cougars beat the Raiders 7-6 before coming from behind to edge the Lady Lancers, 12-11, in the title game.

Lincolnview beat Crestview by a 7-4 final in their semifinal game. The Lady Knights then topped Wayne Trace 11-8 in the consolation game.

In the championship game, the Lady Lancers wasted little time in jumping ahead. With Katie Coplin in the circle for the Cougars, Lakin Brant singled up the middle to begin the game for the Lancers. Lana Carey worked a walk, and Alena Looser and Carly Wendel each singled before anybody was retired. Walks followed to Destiny Coil and Morgan Miller, and it was 3-0 before Coplin escaped the inning.

It was more of the same in the top of the second. Brant singled to open the frame, and Lana Carey doubled to bring home a run. Carey came around on a pair of passed balls, and Alena Looser walked. That spelled the end of the day for Coplin, who was lifted for Laine Spoor. Initially, the move left the Lancers unaffected. Wendel worked a walk and Coil then rocketed a 3-run home run over the fence in center field for an 8-1 scoreboard.

Spoor settled in from there, however. She yielded a run in the third and two in the sixth, but kept the game close enough for her offense to mount a comeback.

And come back the Cougars did.

Winter Boroff began the game in the circle for Lincolnview, and she allowed a run in the first and one more in the second. In the Cougars' third, Lauren Moore opened the inning with a double, and Katie Dickson added one of her own. Singles by Coplin, Grace Spoor and Adrianna Grouthause spelled the end for Boroff, and she was replaced by Amy Beair. The Four-run inning brought the Cougars to within 8-6 at that point.

They trailed 11-6 as Beair had steadied the ship for Lincolnview heading into the home half of the sixth. A leadoff single was followed by a Reagan Priest pinch-hit double before Olivia Kline singled. Lauren Moore then reached on a Lancer error. The inning was further aided by a walk to Laine Spoor and a single by Coplin, but the big blow came by way of a double from Grace Spoor to put the Cougars on top.

Lady Cougars blast Jefferson

DELPHOS – The Delphos Jefferson Lady Cats and the Van Wert Lady Cougar softball teams took advantage of a break in the weather to play a non-league game Monday afternoon. The Cougars scored 13 to open the contest and made it all but impossible for the Lady Cats to mount a comeback.

Mistakes on the mound and in the field plagued the Wildcats in the opening frame. Alexis Metz blasted a double to left field to start the game and Olivia Kline followed with a single and put the Cougars in a nice spot in the top of the first inning. The wheels fell off the bus for Jefferson as pitcher Ally Hasting walked the next batter and hit the following two.

An error by the infield and another hit batter gave Van Wert a 5-0 lead. The barrage continued when Reagan Priest hit a two RBI single to center field and blew the game wide open. The gap grew to 9-0 before Hasting was relieved by Audrey North, but that did little to slow the onslaught by Van Wert. They racked up four more runs in the inning with help from Katie Dickson and Katie Coplin, who each had a double, as the Cougars tallied 13 runs before North finished the frame with a strikeout.

The Wildcats got on the board in the bottom half of the second. Audrey North and Noel Warnament walked to open the inning and Kylie Gosset knocked a single to right field to load the bases for Jefferson. Jayla Rostorfer’s single brought in North, and Michelle Rode blasted one to center to score Noel Warnament and made it 13-2.

Van Wert tacked on three more in the top of the third. Lauren Moore scored on an error while a single by Coplin scored Laine Spoor and made it 15-2. Coplin later scored on yet another error by the Jefferson defense and gave the Cougars a 16-2 advantage.

Van Wert never took its foot off the pedal and scored four runs in the fourth inning and six in the fifth. Katie Dickson blasted a home run over the center field wall and put the nail in the coffin for the Lady Cats as the Cougars garnished a 26-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Despite being down by a considerable margin, Jefferson never gave up. Three walks and a hit batter led to a run for the Wildcats, but the damage was already done. The Cougars won in stylish fashion, 26-3.

Van Wert head coach Greg Steinecker was happy with the win.

“Jefferson’s starting pitcher struggled. She was behind the count a lot and that allowed us to go through our batting order. It’s a good start. We have been waiting to get out on the field. We had a scrimmage then a whole week off because of the weather so I’m very happy Jefferson gave us the opportunity to play and had the field ready.”