The Sylvania Southview Cougars celebrate their victory over the Anthony Wayne Generals at the pitchers mound directly after the end of the game.
BOWLING GREEN — The Cinderella ride of the Southview baseball team continues into today’s Division I regional championship game.
Again using the formula of superb pitching, errorless defense, timely hitting, and a break or two, the Cougars took a 3-1 victory over Northern Lakes League foe Anthony Wayne in a regional semifinal Thursday at Bowling Green’s Steller Field.
Southview (18-10), with its deepest baseball tournament run in school history, will play in today’s 5 p.m. regional final here against North Royalton, which defeated Lakewood St. Edward 4-1 in another semifinal.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from this game
Cougars senior right-hander Alexander Theiss (7-2, 0.59 ERA) continued his tourney mastery on the mound, scattering seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
“Xander [Theiss] did a great job battling all the way through,” Southview coach Ed Mouch said. “I didn’t think he had really great stuff early on. But, as the game progressed, he got better and better.
“He’s our horse, and he’s been doing it all year long. We’ve been riding him, and now we’re going to ride Tyler Stambaugh [today]. We’ll see where [the Cinderella ride] takes us.”
In three tournament wins — including 1-0 over City League champion Start, and 2-1 over Three Rivers Athletic Conference champion St. John’s Jesuit — Theiss allowed just two runs in 21 postseason innings. He ended the 12-game win streak of St. John’s (23-3), and the 13-game win streak of NLL co-champion Anthony Wayne (21-9).
“I think it’s our confidence,” Theiss said of the tourney run. “We finally have the confidence that we can do it. We’ve always been a good team. Maybe we weren’t into games in the middle of the season, but right now we’re intense the whole game. Our momentum is carrying us.”
The Cougars captured the game’s momentum in the bottom of the first inning when AW’s Alex Murphy singled to right field. The Generals’ Peyton Brown — who had singled and advanced on a groundout — was called out at home on a relay throw by first baseman Tyler Stambaugh.
Television replay showed that Southview catcher Nate Grady missed high on the tag. Not only was Brown called out, but he also left the game with an apparent fracture of the wrist or hand.
Sylvania Southview's Nick Vlasnik is tagged out by Anthony Wayne second baseman Austin Kottenbrock.
All of Southview’s runs were unearned, as AW committed four errors.
Sylvania Southview pitcher Alexander Theiss winds up to pitch.
In the second inning, Stambaugh reached on an error by Murphy at shortstop. Stambaugh was forced out on Jake Holloway’s sacrifice bunt try, but Holloway moved up on Grady’s single, and scored on Spencer Perry’s single.
John Malak drew a one-out walk for Southview in the fourth, stole second on a failed pickoff try by AW starter Josh Schwerer, got to third on Tre Simms’ groundout, and scored on an error by first baseman Alex Vogel.
Vogel dropped a foul popup hit by Colin Boerst (3-for-4) leading off the fifth. Reprieved, Boerst singled. Griffin McDonald bunted him to second, and Stambaugh’s RBI single made it 3-0.
“It’s nice to be that big team that everybody knows, but that’s not who we are,” Boerst said. “We’re totally good with being the Cinderella.
“We’ve never been that team that comes out and crushes balls to the fence. We’ve got to be that scrappy team, because that’s the way we win. It feels great to put it together.”
AW’s run came in the fifth. Evan Brown and Chad Windom opened the inning with singles, and Brown came home on Austin Kettenbrock’s groundout.
Theiss buckled down and retired the last nine batters in order.
“We didn’t play well,” AW coach Mark Nell said. “We had a winning streak going on, and had been playing some pretty good baseball. We picked an unfortunate time to not play well.
“They’re a good team — one of the most talented in our league. They didn’t have the success they wanted in the league, and we beat them twice [3-2 and 1-0]. But, like the old saying, it’s hard to beat a team three times.
“They capitalized, and that’s what good teams do.”
The Cougars’ win was the 100th for Mouch (100-63) in his six seasons at Southview. He guided Southview to its only other regional semifinal in 2010. Mouch also took St. John’s to a D-I regional final in 2004.