MARSHALL - A pair of Nolan Schaeffer two-run home runs lifted Marshall VFW Blue past Marshall VFW Orange 12-2 in District 3 playoff action Thursday night.
Schaeffer's home runs came in the first two innings, with both coming off of Orange starting pitcher Matt Thompson. With the game scoreless in the first inning, Schaeffer belted a two-out offering over the left-field fence, also scoring Mason Campion. In the second inning, Schaeffer followed a two-run Campion double with another two-run shot, again over the left-field fence to stretch the lead to 6-0. Schaeffer finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
"He's been a real steady presence in our lineup through out the summer. He's one of those kids that, even at a young age, can drive the ball," Blue coach Matt Suby said of Schaeffer. "Those are two big hits for us tonight. One was with two outs to get us out to an early lead. The second one put us up by six.
Photo by Travis Andries
Marshall VFW Blue third baseman Nolan Schaeffer celebrates with coach Matt Suby after hitting his second home run Thursday at Legion Field. In the distance, VFW Orange right-fielder Quinton Johnson watches. Blue went on to win 12-2 in six innings.
"We're going to need him in our line-up. Give credit to the guys who get on before him too, that make it more than a solo home run."
While Campion, specifically, was setting the table for Schaeffer, the Blue lineup as a whole had a great night from the plate. In total, the team had 16 hits, including two home runs and two doubles.
"Give them credit," said Orange coach Mitch Maxwell. "They hit the crap out of the ball today."
Thompson lasted just two-plus innings Thursday, allowing six runs on nine hits. Thompson also walked three and had two strike outs.
"If you look at what he did, (Thompson) really didn't throw poorly," Maxwell said. "Who would call two home runs by the same guy in a 16-year-old league? I don't think Matt really threw poorly. I just think he had some unfortunate luck.
"There were some plays that we left out on the field today that I think we should have made," Maxwell added. "There were a couple of balls that we could have caught in the outfield, but we didn't make those plays."
For Blue, Conner Mesman pitched all six innings with the type of performance that the short-handed squad needed.
"(Mesman) probably didn't have his best stuff tonight, but he knew that with nine guys we needed him to go out there and kind of bulldog his way through," Suby said. "He pitched a really good ball game today. And we're going to need that through the weekend to keep on advancing."
Mesman picked up the win, finishing with six innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits and six walks.
Orange got their first run in the top of the third on a Thompson single that drove in Jack Bock with one out and the bases loaded. Orange was unable to score again in the third, however, striking out and flying out to shallow center to end the inning.
Blue extended its lead to 11-1 with five runs in the fourth inning off of Orange reliever Derek Rasmussen, who pitch 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks.
Orange kept the game alive with a run in the top of the fifth, as Brad Bahlmann scored on a sacrifice fly to left field from Thomas Fischer. Blue ended the game in the sixth when Matt Facile drove in Mesman for their 12th run and a ten-run advantage.
Mason Campion went 2-for-3 for VFW Blue with two RBIs, three runs scored and a double. Drew Hmielewski went 2-for-4 with a run and a double. Mesman also went 2-for-4, scoring three times, and Bryce Johnson went 3-for-5 with a run.
Thompson had the only multi-hit game for Orange, going 2-for-2 with an RBI.
VFW Blue now awaits the victor of Sacred Heart and Worthington, while Orange will play the loser of Worthington and Sacred Heart. Both games will take place Saturday afternoon at Legion Field.
MO001 010-2 5 3
MB240 501-12 16 3
MO-Matt Thompson, Derek Rasmussen (3); MB-Conner Mesman. WP-Mesman. LP-Thompson. HR: MB-Nolan Schaeffer 2. 2B: MB-Drew Hmielewski, Mason Campion.