Walk-off leads to TMP sweep
By AUSTIN COLBERT
It was the sort of offensive inning Thomas More Prep-Marian baseball coach Brian Schumacher can use to show future Monarch players how to perfectly set up and execute a game-winning at-bat.
There was senior Grant Romme's single to open the inning, followed by a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by junior Braiden Werth to move Romme into scoring position. Finally there was junior Ryan Schippers, who delivered the swing of the night by driving the ball into center field to score Romme, his walk-off double the final act to Monday's sweep of Russell/Victoria at TMP Field.
"Ryan, he struggled a little bit today at the plate, but you know, he came through with a swing like he's been swinging all year," Schumacher said. "That was a big at-bat for him. But not only that, you look at Grant. He led off with a nice hit, then Braiden Werth laid out a perfect bunt that actually got him into scoring position."
Schippers' knock gave TMP the 4-3 win in Game 2, the same score the Monarchs defeated Russell by in Game 1. TMP needed the final run after Russell tied the game in the top of the seventh inning of Game 2 with a throwing error by Cameron Brin helping lead to the 3-3 score.
Then Schippers sealed the win in the final frame, moving TMP's record to 14-4, while Russell fell to 12-8. The games were rescheduled from April 29 because of weather.
"There was just a little bit of panic, but we stayed through with it. Just had everybody with confidence," Schippers said of the final inning. "Didn't try to do too much and found a hole. It's just luck.
"It is definitely huge and needed," he added. "Going into regionals, this is what sets us over the top. Hopefully we can go in strong. It's exactly what we needed for the team."
Schippers' game-winning hit was his only hit of either game. He finished 1-4 in Game 2 with one run to go with his RBI. Junior Liam Stults took the win on the mound, pitching all seven innings. He gave up seven hits, one earned run and struck out five batters.
Brandon Bachar took the Game 2 loss for the Broncos despite giving up only two earned runs and striking out five batters.
The Monarchs received a strong outing from junior Kameron Schmidt on the mound in Game 1. He also pitched a complete game. He gave up six hits, one earned run, walked three and struck out seven batters.
The first game was locked at 1-1 entering the bottom of the fourth when TMP found the separation it needed to eventually earn the 4-3 win. The Monarchs scored two runs that inning, both coming off fielding and throwing mistakes from Russell.
Down 4-2 entering the top of the seventh inning, Russell made it interesting. Despite the first two Bronco batters hitting into outs, back-to-back hits followed and an error by Taylor Wasinger led to a run being scored by sophomore Chase Prester.
Down 4-3, Russell had the bases loaded with two outs before senior Kaden Rohr flied out to Brin in left field to end the game.
"These were two big games. It helps us not only as far as seeding wise (for regionals), but to be able to come out with wins -- we've lost a couple of games earlier this year, one-run games, and confidence wise I don't know that we were really there," Schumacher said.
"This really helped a lot. The guys did a nice job. They stayed calm and played the game the way it was supposed to and came out with two wins."
TMP will finish out its regular season schedule on Thursday when Colby visits for senior day in a 4 p.m. doubleheader.