Wolves downed by Van Buren in semifinal
FAIRFIELD — The Winfield-Mt. Union baseball team ended its season on Thursday night with a six-inning, 13-2 district semifinal loss to Van Buren.
The Wolves finish with a record of 7-17.
“(Our biggest struggle) was that we didn’t make enough plays defensively,” W-MU Coach Kenton Klopfenstein said. “They weren’t necessarily errors, but they were plays that, if we were going to win, we needed to make.”
They had a lot of plays to make, as Van Buren was having no trouble connecting at the plate. They had just one strikeout and came up with 10 hits on the night. The Wolves finished the game with two errors.
Noah Whitten and Tyson Sprouse led the Warriors, each going 2-for-3; six other Van Buren batters had one hit apiece.
“Our pitchers were also behind in the count too much,” Klopfenstein said. “With a team like that, we can’t afford (to be behind).”
Three different pitchers took the mound for W-MU. Travis Jones started the game and went 2 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits for six earned runs. He hit one batter, walked none and struck out one.
Christian Fenton threw 2 1/3 innings in relief, allowing two hits and three walks for four runs (three earned). Garret Baker finished the contest, allowing one hit and two walks for three runs (two earned) in one inning.
At the plate for W-MU, Baker, Darren Hunter and Kolt Rossiter each went 2-for-3 to lead the team.
“Our hitting improved quite a bit (over the season),” Klopfenstein said. “Coming into the season, I didn’t know what to expect, but hitting was my first concern.”
The Wolves strung together a few hits in the opening frame of the contest, as Hunter, Matthew Neibuhr and Kolt Rossiter hit three straight singles to score a run.
They did the same in the final inning, with help from a leadoff walk by Lucas Rappenecker. This time, Hunter, Rossiter and Baker each hit singles, and Rappenecker crossed the plate for the Wolves second and final run of the night.
The game ended the high school athletic careers of three W-MU seniors: Rappenecker, Ryan Nelson and Jacob Arnold.
Next up for Van Buren is the district final against IMS. That game will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Fairfield.
W-MU vs. VAN BUREN
Van Buren 204 025 — 13
W-MU 100 001 — 2
WP — Thomas Fitzsimmons
LP — Travis Jones
W-MU — Lucas Rappenecker: 0-2, BB, run. Darren Hunter: 2-3, run. Matthew Neibuhr: 1-3. Kolt Rossiter: 2-3, RBI. Garret Baker: 2-3, RBI. Ryan Nelson: 1-3.
Van Buren — Brandon Plecker: 1-4, BB, run. Will Mertens: 1-3, 2 runs. Garrett Saunders: 1-3, BB, 2 runs. Robby Laughlin: 1-4, RBI, 2 runs. Robert Barker: 1-2, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 3 runs. Noah Whitten: 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI. Tyson Sprouse: 2-3, 2 RBI. Tanner Smith: 1-2, 2 RBI. Austin Felt: 0-0, 3 runs. Jacob Heisel: 0-0, BB. Steals — Saunders (3), Plecker and Mertens.