Maumee Baseball Falls Just Short In District Tournament

Maumee sophomore Will Kubicz slides into home. MIRROR PHOTO BY JODY SMALLEY

BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — More than 100 years ago, Hall of Fame baseball player Willie Keeler said the famous line, “Hit it where they ain’t.”

While that might seem to be an oversimplification of the sport, that’s sometimes the narrow edge between winning and losing.

Maumee had more than double the hits as No. 1 seed Defiance in a Division II district semifinal, but the Bulldogs made enough plays in the field and on the mound to send the Panthers packing, 2-0.

“We did a pretty good job of putting the ball in play,” said Panthers coach Todd Ery. “Only striking out three times against a quality pitcher is a good sign, but he was able to induce a good amount of weak contact. The balls we did square up seemed to be hit right at the defense, but that’s baseball sometimes.”

Defiance, which eventually lost in the district final to Napoleon, managed just three hits, but it scored runs in the fourth and sixth innings while holding Maumee scoreless.

Austin Dwyer went 2-for-3 to lead the Panthers, while Chase Maulucci, Carter Koepfler, C.J. Lepper, Jackson Kain and Spencer Schwab each had a hit.

“When you’re putting runners on base, the pressure is on the pitcher and the defense to make plays, which they did,” Ery said. “Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team. We had our chances, but the big hit just didn’t drop today.”

Maulucci got the start on the mound and lasted 5-1/3 innings, giving up three hits and two unearned runs while striking out five and walking three.

Ben Kubicz threw the final 2/3 inning, not allowing a base runner while striking out one.

“Chase competed today,” Ery said. “He didn’t have his best stuff from a command standpoint, but he still found a way to keep us in the ballgame by just refusing to give in. He’s a heck of a competitor, and we’re going to miss him next year.”

The Panthers finished their season with a 17-10 overall record and a 10-4 mark in the Northern Buckeye Conference, placing third in the standings.

After the loss to Defiance, Ery wanted to make sure his players remembered how much they did and what they accomplished this season.

“I wanted them to know how proud they made people this season. Not just me and our coaching staff, but their families, the school and the community,” Ery said. 

“Teams will always be remembered for their tournament success, and even though we were hoping to squeeze out a few more, winning our first sectional title since 2018 is hopefully the beginning of more great things to come for the program.”

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