PEMBERVILLE — The Napoleon River Bandits suffered their first postseason setback of the 2019 season, coming up short against Pemberville Freedom Post 183 in a 5-3 clash at Pemberville on Friday.
Postponed from Thursday, the winner’s bracket semifinal started off inauspiciously for the Bandits (31-13) as Pemberville plated three runs in the top of the second thanks to a one-out solo home run from Zachary Marvin while Samuel Witt and Scott Mackiewicz each laced RBI singles to center to stake the early lead.
Napoleon found its charge in the bottom of the fourth with a two-spot, fueled by a leadoff single by Jeron Williams (Archbold) that was followed by an RBI double off the bat of Austin Lichty (Antwerp). Two batters later, Nathan Vold (Ayersville) scored Lichty on a sacrifice bunt that trimmed the lead to one.
Tyler Haas homered in the fifth and Mackiewicz scored Witt on an RBI groundout in the sixth to give Pemberville some breathing room, however, pushing the defending district champions back up by three runs.
Down to their final two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Bandits did find a spark. Hunter Bostater (Fairview) sent a two-out pitch over the left field fence to cut the lead to 5-3. Brandon Shafer (Defiance) reached on catcher’s interference and, with two outs, Austin Lichty drew a walk to put the winning run at the plate.
Tyler Wehrle induced a groundout on a 3-2 count, however, clinching the win for Pemberville and a spot in the winner’s bracket final.
With the loss, Napoleon will play today in an elimination game against either Ottawa or Toledo at Pemberville at 7 p.m. Ottawa, a 10-1 loser to Napoleon on Wednesday, and Toledo, a 7-2 loser to Findlay on Friday, will meet at 1 p.m. today.
Pemberville 030 011 0 — 5 8 1
Napoleon 000 200 1 — 3 8 1
Records: Napoleon 31-13.
Winning pitcher: Jacob Boelkens (4 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks). Others: Tyler Wehrle, Samuel Witt.
Losing pitcher: Caleb Frank (2 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 walks). Others: Austin Bostater, Daryke Bass, Christian Petersen.
Leading hitters: (Pemberville) — Samuel Witt 2 singles; Zachary Marvin home run; Luke Walsh triple. (Napoleon) — Hunter Bostater single, home run; Austin Lichty single, double; Dakota Benner 2 singles.