Bremen headed to championship; Lancers eliminated

LAKEVILLE — The Class 2A Sectional 35 semifinals for high school boys baseball saw the two extremes of the sport Thursday night. One contest was a pitcher’s duel with a dramatic finish and the other ended by the 10-run rule.
By the end of the evening, Monday’s noon championship contest was determined and it will be Bremen facing Central Noble after the Lions downed Westview, 2-1, and the Cougars defeated LaVille, 14-4, at Newton Park.
“It was just as I expected,” said Bremen head coach Bo Hundt. “When you go up against Westview it’s always a battle and I knew (pitcher) Nate (Leeper) would come out and battle for us — same thing with (Jamar) Weaver from their side.”
Last year Weaver was the winning pitcher as the Warriors defeated the Lions 7-1 in the sectional championship and pitched another gem this time, scattering seven hits and striking out the same number. But his counterpart, Leeper, out-did the Westview hurler. The senior righty allowed six hits, struck out half a dozen, but most importantly, allowed one fewer run.
After both teams scored in the first inning, the scoreboard was filled with zeroes until the final frame. With two outs in the top half, Bremen’s Sean Knepper blasted a solo home run over the left field fence for what turned out to be the game-winner.
“I was just thinking ‘Get on base. Do something to help the team out’,” said the senior leadoff hitter, whose poke went an estimated 360 feet. “I was looking fastball, but I don’t know what it was. It just felt great.”
“I was just waiting for something like that to happen, and it did,” added Hundt. “Sean had a tremendous game, was very patient at the plate, and just waited and waited, and the guy just hung one there. It got up in that wind a little bit and that was it.”
Knepper had two of the team’s seven hits and scored both runs. Younger brother Eric knocked him in with a single in the first inning. Bob Cornett also had a pair of hits for the Lions.
At Newton Park
Bremen: 100 000 1 – 2 7 0
Westview: 100 000 0 – 1 6 1
Nate Leeper (W) and Austin Gall; Jamar Weaver (L) and Darren Stillson.
2B: Sean Knepper (B), Luke Miller (W)
HR: S. Knepper (B)
Records: Bremen 13-12, Westview 14-11 (final)
Umpires: Scott Sanchez, Art Garcia, David Long

In the first semifinal, LaVille jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind back-to-back doubles by Justin Baker and Quentin Herbster, then an RBI single from Trenton Priser, but Central Noble’s bats continued to stay hot and they regained control quickly. The Cougars had 12 hits in their sectional opener and added another 14 against the host Lancers.
“They have good hitters all the way through the lineup and have good speed,” said LaVille head coach Dan Jones. “That second inning they found their stroke.”
Central’s second inning outburst saw seven hits and four walks combine to produce nine runs. While LaVille scratched out single runs in the third and fifth innings, the Cougars tallied three in the fourth and two more in the bottom of the sixth for a 10-run cushion that ended the game.
“They did a good job of waiting for their pitch and putting it in play. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t fall our way,” Jones said. “You put yourself in a 9-2 hole, it’s hard to come out of it, but our guys fought like they have all year. They didn’t quit. The scoreboard doesn’t show how hard we fought the whole game.”
Central pitcher Nick McCoy struck out 10 and only walked one for the victory. LaVille’s Herbster had two of the Lancers’ seven hits, scored twice and also collected an RBI. Trenton Priser and Dalton Sauer also knocked in runs for LV.
• CENTRAL NOBLE 14, LaVILLE 4 (6 inn.)
At Newton Park
LaVille: 201 010 — 4 7 0
C. Noble 090 302 — 14 14 1
James Whiteman, Kyle Carson (2) and Trenton Priser; Nick McCoy and Alx Whitlock.
2B: Justin Baker (LV), Quentin Herbster (LV), Tyler Skinner 2 (CN), McCoy (CN)
Records: LaVille 12-13 (final), Central Noble 17-11
Umpires: Scott Sanchez, Art Garcia, David Long