Minster Wins Division IV State Championship

The Minster Wildcats baseball team celebrates after winning the Division IV state championship on Saturday.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

Jon Niemeyer knew what it felt like to lose a state championship when the Minster football team lost to Warren JFK back in December.
The senior didn’t want to go through that again.

“Losing at this level in this stage, it is one of the toughest things ever,” said Niemeyer. “So us seniors got it together and we made sure we weren’t going to lose this game.”

The Wildcats’ right fielder took matters into his own hands to make sure history did not repeat itself when he took a 1-0 pitch to the opposite field in left, past a diving Trenton Monnin to score Jared Huelsman for the game-winning run, handing Minster its 30th state title in school history and Niemeyer a state champion for the final time.

“It felt like, I need to come through here, I don’t want this to go to eight innings,” he said. “It was 1-0 (the count) and it was a fastball and I was ready for it.”

In a contest where the Wildcats trailed for the first time all season, Minster overcame adversity — led by their 10 seniors — to defeat the Russia Raiders 1-0 on Saturday at Huntington Park.

“Sometimes, adversity makes you play better and it makes things happen, that is what I built on here,” said Wildcats coach Mike Wiss.

On the same day the Minster track and field team lost its chance at a state title on the final running event of the day, the Wildcats baseball team won their title on the final at-bat of the day.

With the game tied at 1-1 after Adam Knapke tied the game in the fourth inning with an opposite field base hit to score Bryce Schmiesing, Jared Huelsman hit a one-out single and advanced on an Isaac Schmiesing groundout to third base. That brought up the All-Ohio selection Niemeyer to the plate, who took Russia pitcher Jack Dapore’s 1-0 offering to the opposite field in left where Monnin dove for the ball, but was roughly three feet away from it, allowing Huelsman to score from second.

“The two hits that scored runs for us was Adam Knapke going oppo (opposite field) and Jon Niemeyer going opco,” Wiss said. “We stress it every day. Two of our three hits were to the opposite field. It is something that is important in today’s game.”

Jack Heitbrink recorded the win for Minster in a complete game effort. He surrendered just one run on five hits and struck out five.

During the Wildcats’ eight-game win streak, Minster outscored its opponents 44-4, shutting teams out in four games this postseason.

“These guys were all in, they were locked in,” Wiss said. “Maybe after beating St. Henry at home, Jon had two good plays in that game. Nolan Clegg from Toronto is burying balls in right field (in the state semifinal on Friday) and we have Jon there.
“Minster doesn’t hide a player in right field, we put a good player in right field because of the amount of people that go opposite field today. Jon has played it very well.”