With the game tied, the Chargers bounced back and got to a position where they could get out of the inning with no damage.
But a ball hit softly by Sam Broering slid through the infield, lifting No. 6-ranked Coldwater to a 2-1 win over Edison in a Division III regional semifinal on Thursday at Elida's Ed Sandy Field.
"Our kids have absolutely nothing to hang their heads about," Edison coach Sean Hoover said. "That was a great high school baseball game. Baseball is one of those funny games where sometimes you smash the ball and do not have anything to show for it — and other times you barely touch it and things go your way."
Bryce Roberts, the ace of the Edison staff, pitched well enough to win. The Chargers finish their season with a record of 15-10.
"Bryce did an incredible job keeping Coldwater off balance with his off-speed pitches," Hoover said. "He really did a good job shutting them down. He gave us exactly what we have come to expect out of him. He does it so consistently and goes out there and accepts the challenge of being the ace of the staff and shutting down the other team."
After watching Edison tie the game in the top half of the seventh inning, the Cavs (25-6) came storming back in the bottom half. Pinch hitter Alex Wourms singled on the first pitch he saw from Roberts, and was pinch ran for by Myles Blasingame. No. 8 hitter Jacob Hastings laid down a bunt, and the Chargers appeared to have the first out of the inning when Roberts fielded it. But the throw to first base was errant, dropped, and trickled away.
That allowed Blasingame to reach third, and Hastings to scramble to second. Roberts bounced back to strike out Mitch Niekamp for a second time, then Hoover opted to intentional walk leadoff hitter Austin Riethman, who was hitless in three at-bats at that point.
Roberts quickly got two strikes on Broering, but he connected on a 1-2 pitch that slid just between third base and shortstop, sending Coldwater into the regional title game.
"That is a crapshoot, really," Hoover said. "You can play back and hope he hits it hard enough to get a double play. With the way he hit it, if we are back, he scores anyways.
"It's just one of those percentage plays," he added. "You have to hope he puts it in a spot where you can make a play."
It wasn't until the seventh inning that Edison that finally got to Cavs pitcher Brad Giere. Thomas Oeder was hit by a pitch and moved to second when Jacobee Kessler — who had two of the Chargers' three hits at the time — laid down a sacrifice bunt. The move paid off, as No. 8 hitter Caden Cooper laced a double into centerfield, scoring Oeder and tying the game.
"At that point in time, you are just trying to get a guy to second," Hoover said. "Jacobee had a couple hits, but the biggest thing was to get somebody into scoring position and give our guys behind them a chance. You never know where a ball is going to bounce, and Caden drove the ball into the gap."
With yet a runner in scoring position, the Chargers could not tack on the additional run. Jadon Hanson flied out to short left field and Cooper McIntyre struck out looking to end the top half of the seventh inning.
"Brad left two balls up in the zone and Edison made him pay for it with that double," Coldwater coach Brian Harlamert said. "You have to tip your hat to Caden there. He got the timely hit there. For us, with one out, to only give them one run was very big."
Coldwater opened the game's scoring in the fourth inning, using methodical small ball to perfection. Broering was hit by a pitch for the 19th time this season, tying a school record, to open the inning. He moved to second when No. 3 hitter Jake Wenning bunted him over. A single by Nathan Grunden continued the threat and Jack Muhlenkamp registered a sacrifice fly to score Broering. Roberts bounced back though and got Cole Frilling to fly out.
Edison started to have better at-bats as the game went on. It threatened with a runner in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings. Kessler's second hit of the day with one out in the half was also the Chargers' second hit. Cooper bunted him to second, but Hanson struck out swinging to end the top of the fifth inning.
McIntyre led off the sixth inning with a single before Roberts grounded into a fielder's choice. Caleb Bissell then laid down a bunt, but the throw pulled Coldwater's first baseman off the bag, allowing Edison to get two runners on for the first time in the game.
Giere induced Cody Scott to ground into a fielder's choice at second, putting Roberts at third with two outs. But again, a ground ball was handled, retiring Richard Crooks via fielder's choice, halting the Edison offense again.
Coldwater, which entered the game with an impressive 102 stolen bases, again maintained the ultra-aggressive play. The Cavs swiped four more bases and pressured Edison and Roberts like the Chargers had not been pressured in a while.
"We like to run and that is apart of our game," Harlament said. "We like to play some small ball and get quite a few bunts down. I don't think the speed got us a run, but in the long run, Edison was expecting a bunt twice and we stole two bases. It was us being aggressive in the process."
Roberts (7-3) allowed four hits while walking two. He struck out five and threw 88 pitches in his final high school baseball game.
Giere was even better on the other side for Edison. He needed just 74 pitches including just 55 in the first six innings. He allowed four hits while striking out four.