Big-time rally helps Leipsic win district championship

May 25—HAMLER — There was lightning in Patrick Henry's bats early and a flash of lighting in the sky later in Leipsic's 13-5 win over the Patriots in a Division IV baseball district championship game on Friday.

But neither of those obstacles, or any others, could stand in the way of the Vikings (24-2) getting their their district title once their offense began to roll and Nick Schroeder went to the mound.

After falling behind 5-1 in the middle of the third inning, Leipsic scored seven runs in the fourth inning and got four more runs in the sixth inning and pounded out 13 hits in the game.

And Schroeder allowed no runs and just one hit over the final 4 1/3 innings of the game after following starter John Dewar and reliever Tyler Lammers to the mound during the third inning.

Leipsic will play Riverdale (23-6) at 2 p.m., next Thursday in a regional semifinal at Elida. Fort Recovery and Montpelier will play the other Elida regional semifinal at 5 p.m., next Thursday.

"We knew 5-1 was not looking good but these veteran guys knew to just chip away, stay at it and chip away. But I didn't know if we'd be able to stop them from scoring. And then we did," Leipsic coach Darren Henry said.

"Luckily we got some huge at bats in that inning when we scored all those runs," he said. "I think that really got us fired up and maybe took a little of the wind out of their sails."

Leipsic was down 5-2 when the bottom of the fourth inning began and up 9-5 when it was over.

The first seven Vikings hitters in the fourth inning reached base — four of them on walks — and all seven scored.

The biggest hit might have been a three-run double by Tommy Offenbacher which gave Leipsic a 7-5 lead, its first lead since it had gone up 1-0 in the first inning.

Quin Schroeder, Trent Siefker, Tyler Lammers, Colin Niese and Nick Schroeder all had two hits for Leipsic.

A flash of lightning and a brief downpour interrupted Leipsic's big fourth inning for 20 minutes but the Vikings appeared unaffected by the delay. They scored twice in the fourth inning on a double by Niese after the delay and added four more runs in the sixth inning.

"We just sat in the dugout and chilled out here. It was nice and calm," Henry said.

Nice and calm might also apply to the way Schroeder (3 strikeouts, 1 walk) pitched.

He said Henry told him to be ready if he had to move to pitcher from second base, where he started the game. "I certainly didn't expect to come in that early, but I was ready," he said.

When he entered the game his focus was on not allowing Patrick Henry (14-11) to add to its lead on its home field.

"Keep it (the score) there. Don't let up any more, just keep it as close as we can," Schroeder said. "We came here and lost in this game last year (to Delphos St. John's). We knew we wanted to come back and get another chance to win it."

Henry said, "He was huge. He plays basketball and golf but this is his favorite sport. His family is a baseball family. His brother Trey pitched for us a couple years ago in the regional. Nick knows baseball."

Schroeder also played a big role in Leipsic's 3-2 win over Lincolnview in a district semifinal earlier this week when he drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"It was a great week, a great week for sure," he said.