by Bruce Hixon
for the Breese Journal

[brb]Tossing a gem — Bartelso lefty Tony Schaeffer sends in a curveball in an early inning of the Barts’ 7-0 win over visiting Germantown on Sunday in the CCL playoffs. Schaeffer went all nine innings and allowed just four hits, no walks and he struck out seven in 91 pitches.
    A year ago the Germantown Reds knocked out top-seeded Bartelso in the opening round of the Clinton County League playoffs en route to a berth in the championship series. 
    Barts pitcher Tony Schaeffer made sure history would not repeat itself in 2018.  The veteran left-hander struck out six and went the distance on a three-hit shutout as Bartelso avenged its 2017 first-round exit with a 7-0 over the visiting and fourth-seeded Reds in Sunday’s opening round of the CCL postseason. 
    The top-seeded Barts (9-4) advanced to the championship series where they will run up against second-seeded Centralia (9-4). The Buds earned their spot in the finals with an 8-6 victory over third-seeded Trenton. 
    Game one in the best-of-three series will be played Sunday at Bartelso at 1 p.m. followed by game two at Centralia Aug. 19. Game three, if necessary, will be back at Bartelso Aug. 26.
    While last year’s early exit by the Barts was a big surprise after Bartelso had put together an 11-1 regular season slate, this year’s postseason field was much different as each of the top three seeds finished regular season play with identical 8-4 records and Germantown was just one game back at 7-5.
    “It’s been a couple years since we’ve won it, but we still have that core group back that won multiple championships and had that 39-game winning streak a few years ago,” said Bartelso interim manager Luke Winkeler. “This year going into the playoffs I thought it was wide open and any of the four teams could win it.”
    Schaeffer did his part in Bartelso’s victory as he allowed only six base runners and none advanced past second base. During one stretch Schaeffer retired 11 straight batters and 17 of 18.
    “I think when you pitch a game like Tony did in the CCL, it’s because he had all his pitches working,” said Winkeler. “Tony is the type of pitcher where the bigger the game, the better he pitches.”
    Germantown (7-6) did not have many chances against Schaeffer, but its best opportunity probably came in the top of the second inning when Brent Timmons reached on a one-out error and Alec Kuhl was hit by a pitch. Schaeffer escaped that jam with back-to-back strikeouts of Chandler Haar and Gerry Haake.
    Reds starting pitcher Tyler Morgan was not as fortunate in the bottom of the second when Bartelso broke through for three runs. Trouble for Morgan began when Nolan Haake led off the frame with a single and Dru Johnson walked. 
    Bryce Harre popped out, but Kurt Peppenhorst lined an RBI single. Dusty Kantner walked to load the bases and set up an RBI single by Jason Cobb and a sacrifice fly by Kory Peppenhorst that made it 3-0.
    The Barts added to that cushion in the bottom of the fourth. Kurt Peppenhorst led off the frame with a single and stole second. Cobb drew a one-out walk prior to an RBI single by Kory Peppenhorst. A two-out single by Kolby Schulte drove home Cobb and made it 5-0 in what turned out to be Morgan’s final inning of work.
    Bartelso nicked Reds reliever Trevor Kohrmann for single runs in each of the next two innings. Dru Johnson led off the fifth with a walk, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on an RBI single by Kurt Peppenhorst that increased the margin to 6-0. The Barts concluded the scoring in the sixth when Cobb led off with a double and Kory Peppenhorst drove home his third run of the game with an RBI single.
    Two of Germantown’s three hits came in the top of the ninth. Tyler Derleth doubled with one out, but was thrown out at third after a pitch to Brett Dierkes scooted past Bartelso catcher Kory Peppenhorst a short distance.
    “The second inning was probably the turning point in the game. We had first and second with one out and didn’t score and then Bartelso came back in the bottom of the second with three. Then we got down five, six and then seven runs and when you get down like that against a pitcher like Tony, you’re probably not going to come back,” said Germantown manager Rick Sherman. “We probably only had three or four hard-hit balls and two of them came in the ninth inning.”
    Germantown and Bartelso split two regular season meetings.
    “I think coming into the playoffs we had as good a chance as anybody to win. If we had won our last game of the regular season there would have been a four-way tie for first,” said Sherman. “Morgan was the winning pitcher for us when we beat them in the playoffs last year and when we beat them during the regular season this year. He held them down for a while after that second inning, but we probably didn’t make some of the adjustments we needed with the strike zone.”
    Brock Hill and Derleth had a double for Germantown, while Dierkes had a single.
    Six of Bartelso’s 12 hits came from the last name of Peppenhorst as Kurt had three singles and two RBIs in the leadoff spot and Kory had three singles and drove in three runs in the cleanup position. Cobb had a single and a double. Schulte had a single and an RBI. Nolan Haake singled twice and Kantner also had a single.

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