Wolter’s Blast Lifts Toronto Over Shadyside
NEFFS — The Tigers have been caged.
Shadyside entered the season embracing hopes for a deep OHSAA post-season baseball journey. Those dreams came to a crashing halt Tuesday afternoon as coach Shawn Selmon’s veteran charges dropped a heart-breaking 8-7 decision to Toronto in a D-IV district semifinal before a large and lively crowd at John Blacker Field.
Shadyside, which put together a valiant seventh-inning rally, ends the campaign with a stellar 19-4 record.
The Red Knights, who started four sophomores and four freshmen, improved to 18-11. Coach Brian Perkins’ crew will now take on Hiland Thursday at Minerva with a berth in the regional on the line. The Hawks blasted Frontier, 11-1, last night.
“This group is so young. We only have one senior,” Perkins said. “They kept their composure and played with a lot of poise, especially when things got really tight in the seventh inning.
“Evan (Wolter) is my only senior and he really came up big today,” added the former OVAC overall coach-of-the-year. “I told him on the way down I don’t want the season to end. He was a big reason why it didn’t.”
Wolter blasted a three-run home run over the left field fence in the fifth inning to give Toronto its first lead of the day at 5-3. He added an RBI single in the seventh which proved to be the game-winning run.
Dominic Bouscher earned the mound win, working the first six innings. He fanned six and walked two. Nate Bloomfield hurled the seventh, fanning one and walking a like amount.
“Dominic pitched a heck-of-a-game. He is only a sophomore and he handled himself like a veteran,” Perkins said. “We definitely made it interesting in the last inning. But we survived.
“We haven’t won anything yet. We know we will have another big test Thursday in Hiland,” he added. “We beat a very good team today in Shadyside. I can’t say enough of how proud I am of my guys.”
Perkins led Toronto to the D-IV state championship in 2019. The Red Knights are riding the wave of 27 consecutive sectional crowns.
The seventh inning alone was worth the price of admission.
Toronto, cast in the role of visitors, took a 5-3 lead into the top of the seventh inning. The Red Knights tacked on three crucial insurance runs on only one hit, that coming off the bat of Wolter. However, two hit-batters, a walk and a wild pitch helped to fuel the surge.
Shadyside, however, did not go quietly or quickly.
A Red Knight error started the frame. Senior ace Korey Beckett walked before Oakland University recruit Rhys Francis crushed a double down the left field line, plating two. After a strikeout, senior standout Ryan Florence delivered an RBI single, shaving the margin to 8-6.
Tulane University signee Bryce Amos singled and Alex Baker was plunked, loading the bases. Freshman Cole Micker plated a teammate via a fielder’s choice making it an 8-7 issue. The uprising came to a halt, however, when Bloomfield induced a pop out to first base.
The game was marked by a great deal of chippiness. Shadyside had one player and one coach ejected.
“I told our guys going into our last at-bats that this game wasn’t over, and it certainly wasn’t. We made a great run,” Selmon offered. “We just came up one hit short. We definitely made it very interesting.
“Sometimes our emotions get the best of us. That showed tonight,” he added. “You can’t ride that emotional roller coaster wave.
Shadyside took a 1-0 lead in the second, courtesy of an RBI single from sophomore Tyler Stottlemyer. The Tigers stretched their advantage to 3-0 in the third frame. Beckett singled and scored on a Francis single. Florence added an RBI groundout.
Francis started on the mound for the Orange. He struck out six and walked two before giving way to Amos in the fifth. Amos struck out two and walked a like amount.
Bouscher and Wolters each had two hits for the winners. The Knights collected six hits.
Shadyside ended with nine hits. Beckett and Francis each had a pair for the Tigers.
“It is a tough way to end the season. We have a good group of kids,” Selmon said. “Our seniors are a great bunch. They meant a great deal to this program.
“We have cultivated many life-long relationships with his group. We had great camaraderie,” he added. “I hate to see these seniors leave but I will now get to see many of them play in college.”