Crestview pitcher Jared Hallfeldt (left) delivers a pitch to home plate while Lincolview base runner Brady Niese leads off in a Division IV sectional final game at Crestview Wednesday. The Knights got a pair of runs late for a 5-3 win. (Times Bulletin/Brian Bassett)
Crestview pitcher Jared Hallfeldt (left) delivers a pitch to home plate while Lincolview base runner Brady Niese leads off in a Division IV sectional final game at Crestview Wednesday. The Knights got a pair of runs late for a 5-3 win. (Times Bulletin/Brian Bassett)
By Brian Bassett

Times Bulletin Sports Editor

sports@timesbulletin.com

CONVOY - The Lincolnview Lancer and Crestview Knight baseball teams renewed their county rivalry Wednesday evening at the Crestview Knight athletic complex in the Division IV sectional final. The game was a rematch of a regular season meeting which the Knights won 12-2, but Wednesday's meeting was much more intriguing, with the Knights getting a pair of late runs to escape with a 5-3 win.

With the game tied at three in the bottom of the fifth, Crestview first baseman Jake Harmon ripped a two-run double into right field. The shot proved to be the difference in a sloppy game, in which only two of the eight combined runs were earned, and the teams combined for six errors.

"(It was a) very good high school baseball game. I take my hat off to Lincolnview for the effort they brought to the table. (Lincolnview pitcher Kyle) Williams threw a phenomenal game. We were lucky to come out on the winning end," said Crestview coach Jim Wharton.

Lincolnview coach Brad Mendanhall pointed to four Lancer errors as the difference in the game. "Unfortunately for us, we had some unearned runs that beat us. I think we played well enough to win and our guys know that."

One of the four Linconview errors came in the first at bat of the bottom of the first. Crestview center fielder Matt Holden reached on an errant throw to the first baseman to lead things off for the Knights. Designated hitter Damian Helm then singled, before Venice Roberts attempted to sacrifice his teammates over, but reached on another Lancer error to load the bases.

Right fielder Jacob Wortman put the Knights on the board with a two-run single to plate Holden and Helm. After a quick flyout, however, Wortman was thrown out trying to steal second, and a groundout ended the Crestview rally. They led 2-0 after one inning.

The Lancers threatened in the top of the second when left fielder Brady Niese reached on error, and DH Derek Friesner and first baseman Mike Klausing walked to load the bases with two outs. Crestview starting pitcher Jared Hallfeldt held strong and got a clutch strikeout to end the threat unscathed.

Hallfeldt wasn't as lucky in the top of the fourth inning, when the Lancers scratched out a couple of runs. After a strikeout to open the frame, Hallfeldt fanned another Lancer batter, but a dropped ball by the catcher let third baseman Conner McCleery reach base. Niese then singled before Klausing came up with a two-run double to tie the game. The Klausing hit marked the exit of Hallfeldt on the mound, despite not surrendering an earned run.

Helm entered on the mound and forced a flyout to end the inning on his first pitch, but the damage was done as Lincolnview tied the game at two.

The Crestview bats responded in the home half of the fourth. Second baseman Alec Heffner doubled down the left-field line to open the frame, and scored when catcher Nathan Owens reached on a dropped fly ball - the third Lancer error of the game. Williams made sure no other Knights wold reach home, and induced a groundout to end the threat, but not before Crestview regained the lead, 3-2.

Lincolnview showed their resiliency in the top of the fifth, and tied the game once again. Shortstop Nick Leeth reached on a one-out single, and second baseman Tyler Lovett singled him home to tie the game at three.

Williams retired the first two Knight batters in the bottom of the fifth, and after a soft ground ball off the bat of Hallfeldt it looked as if the inning would be over. Another Lancer error, however, allowed Hallfeldt to reach - he was then lifted for pinch runner Cam Etzler. Heffner was then hit by a pitch, and Harmon came through with his double to right, scoring Etzler and Heffner. Williams eventually forced a flyout, but a pair of unearned runs gave Crestview a 5-3 lead.

Helm recorded two perfect innings on the mound, to allow Crestview to hold off their rival for the sectional championship, 5-3.

"I'm proud of our kids. I'm proud of our resolve. A lot of times when you're favored it's a little bit difficult, especially in a tight game. As well as Lincolnview put the pressure on us, I thought our kids showed tremendous resolve," Wharton added.

Helm picked up the win for the Knights. He went 3 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits. He walked none and struck out one. "You can't say enough about Helm coming in and getting outs for us. He's done it all year," Wharton said.

Williams was pinned with the loss for Lincolnview. He went six innings, allowing five runs - one earned - on four hits. He walked three, hit two batters with a pitch, and struck out two. "He's a sophomore, and I think the future is pretty bright for Kyle. His last couple of outings are something that he can really build on, and he can be one of the premiere pitchers in this area," Mendenhall said.

Harmon led the Knights at the plate. He was 1-2 with a double and two RBIs. Wortman was 1-3 with a single and a pair of RBIs.

Klausing was 1-2 for Lincolnview with two RBIs, with Lovett also adding an RBI.

The loss drops the Lancers to 8-15 on the season and ends their tournament run. The Knights improve to 16-9 and advance to the district tournament at Coldwater next Wednesday. They await the winner of Ottoville/Spencerville - to be played Friday.

Lincolnview 000 210 0 - 3 5 4

Crestview 200 120 x - 5 4 2

WP - Helm

LP - Williams

2B - (LV) Klausing, (CV) Harmon, Heffner.