BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — The 11th-seeded Southview Cougars continued their Cinderella tournament run by advancing to the regional championship game with a 7-2 victory over No. 5 Anthony Wayne at Bowling Green State University’s Steller Field on May 30.
The Generals’ junior pitcher Zac Szul held Southview hitless through the first two innings, but centerfielder Nick Harshman and catcher Bailey Wiertzykowski began the third frame with back-to-back singles.
Harshman immediately bumped over to third base on a groundout by pitcher Logan Danzeisen, allowing him to score the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly from second baseman Nick Rogenski.
Harshman next got plunked to begin the fifth and instantly moved up to second on a Wiertzykowski sacrifice bunt.
Danzeisen was then intentionally walked before he took second when Harshman stole third – prompting AW to load the bases by intentionally walking Rogenski.
Shortstop Jakob Harshman wasted little time in doubling the Cougars’ lead with a sacrifice fly that scored Nick Harshman, and then things unraveled a bit for the Generals.
Szul got Michael Melville to hit a popup behind home plate, but the ball was dropped for an error instead of the stanza’s third out.
Szul followed that up by striking Melville out, but the Southview third baseman reached base on a passed ball – which permitted Danzeisen to score.
Rightfielder Parker McClure knocked Rogenski in with a follow-up single to push the score to 4-0 before AW finally got the third out during a rundown situation.
Having already stranded sophomore third baseman Conner Holck on base twice after second- and fourth-inning singles, marooned senior rightfielder Camron Kottenbrock and sophomore shortstop Garret Pike after additional base hits in the first and fourth frames and left senior first baseman Carter Holck on base after a fourth-inning walk, the Generals finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth.
Junior centerfielder Hogan Heck began the stanza by reaching base on a Cougars error and Kottenbrock followed with his second single of the night.
Two batters later, Carter Holck knocked both Heck and Kottenbrock in with a two-out double.
Southview next intentionally walked Pike to put runners on first and second, but Cam Young kept any further damage from being done with a running catch in left field – his second highlight-reel play of the inning.
After wasting a Nick Harshman single in the sixth frame, the Cougars added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Danzeisen and Rogenski began the inning with consecutive singles before Melville loaded the bases with a one-out walk.
McClure and designated hitter Connor Bush pushed two runs across by executing a safety squeeze and reaching on an error – which also enabled Melville to score.
Now trailing by five runs, Anthony Wayne put the ball in play during all three of its final at-bats, but Southview’s defense helped Danzeisen to a complete-game performance with a groundout, a flyout and a lineout.
Danzeisen ended up allowing just one earned run on six hits and three walks and struck four Generals out during his seven strong innings, and Nick Harshman led the Cougars’ offense by going 2-for-2 from the plate, getting hit by a pitch and scoring two runs.
Szul was saddled with the loss, despite surrendering just two earned runs on three hits and six walks over five frames and sophomore Ty Roder gave up two more earned runs on three hits and a walk in two relief innings.
Kottenbrock (run, stolen base) and Conner Holck paced Anthony Wayne’s offense with two hits apiece and senior designated hitter Austin Drewes drew a walk and reached on an error.
Coach Mark Nell’s Generals finished the season with an overall record of 20-10, while Southview went on to finish at 17-13 after dropping the regional championship game to top-seeded Cleveland St. Ignatius, 7-4, last Friday.