Minster baseball honors seniors, beats Russia

Seth Kinker
Sports Editor

The Minster baseball team earned a 3-1 win on Jul. 13 over Russia in summer league action. 

After retiring the first three batters for Russia, Minster scored first in the bottom of the first inning. 

An infield single from Eric Schmidt, who was also on the mound, followed by a single by catcher Adam Ketner, plus a walk loaded the bases with one out. A strikeout brought Nathan Oldiges to the plate and he singled to center driving in two runs and putting runners on the corners. 

The next batter, shortstop Kody Richard, hit a shallow ball to center right field to bring home a third run. 

Russia would load the bases in the top of the second with two outs, but Schmidt ended the threat with a strikeout. 

Schmidt earned the win throwing six innings while giving up just one run on one hit with eight strikeouts to four walks. 

In the top of the sixth, Russia recorded that lone run and hit. A shallow hit to left center field by Aiden Shappie got home on base and after stealing second and third base, he was brought home by Xavier Philpot on a groundout RBI to make it 3-1. 

Johnny Nixon would come in for the save in the seventh inning, with a 1-2-3 half inning to close the game. 

The game also served as a figurative passing of the torch as  Jul. 13 was also penned in as senior day for the program to celebrate the 12 seniors that lost their spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic 

Next year, Minster returns just three starters with much of the team being comprised of the JV team or incoming freshman and that’s who’s been playing most of the games for the 7-1 Minster team this summer. 

Of the 12 seniors, Trent Roetgerman, Jacob Niemeyer, Justin Mox, Gabe Philipps, AJ Heitkamp, Kyle Riethman, Ethan Lehmkuhl, Daniel Gottschalk, Dylan Sharp, Alex Schmitmeyer, Jack Olberding and Austin Brown, 11 of them were able to make the game on Jul. 13, watching from the stands before they were honored, along with their parents, during the fifth inning stretch. 

“Of the guys that are here, many of the gentlemen standing behind me here are 2016 state football runners up, 2017 state football champions, 2019 state final four (finalists) in baseball, and 2019 state final four (finalist) in ACME,” said Minster head coach Mike Wiss as he brought out the seniors and their parents to the third baseline. “So, there’s a lot of really good athletes standing behind me.” 

After introducing each senior and telling them of their future plans while they faced the crowd in the stands at Melcher Street Park, he had them all turn around to look at two banners now on the outfield walls. 

One, placed straightaway in center field, was the addition of the 2019 team to the state banner along with another banner down the right field line for a Jackson Hogenkamp, a teammate who passed away last year. 

“They’re baseball players,” said Wiss on what he’ll remember about that group. “They always got along on the baseball field very well. With that group, its different having 12 kids, but you could put an athlete at every position with that group. All I’ve ever asked of any team is two hours of baseball. And that group would give you two hours of baseball a day. That’s why losing that class of seniors hurt. Like I told them (in my speech), there will always be a spot in my dugout (for them). They’re good kids, I wish them all the best.” 

To see more photos from this game, click here