SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Junior pitcher Mike Greminger has been nearly untouchable for the Valle Catholic baseball team during a remarkable run through the Class 2 playoffs.
His masterful one-hitter at Meador Park on Wednesday morning included 11 strikeouts, and propelled the Warriors into the state-title game with a 10-0 semifinal triumph over Plattsburg in six innings.
The victory marked the fifth consecutive postseason shutout for Valle and third in a row for Greminger (8-1), who walked three batters and allowed only an infield hit to catcher Kristian Foster with one out in the fifth.
Sophomore outfielder Nolan Carrow capped a five-run second inning with a bases-clearing triple off Tigers starter Taylor Davis (7-2), and five defensive miscues by Plattsburg helped the Warriors invoke the mercy rule.
Valle received timely production throughout the bottom of its lineup. Zach Weiler finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI singles, while Jason Blum and Christian Moulton each contributed a single and two walks.
The Warriors loaded the bases in the second inning when Plattsburg failed to record an out on Weiler’s sacrifice bunt, and Blum scored his first of two runs on an ensuing walk to Moulton.
No. 9 batter Carrow followed with a pivotal three-run liner that skipped past the diving right fielder for a sudden 4-0 advantage, and lead-off man Cole Bieser tacked on a sacrifice fly.
Valle (25-5) has outscored its opponents 49-0 over a five-game span since district play began, and will battle Strafford (23-5) today at 1 p.m. Both schools are seeking their first state championship in baseball.
Greminger retired eight Plattsburg batters in succession during one stretch, and fanned the side during the fifth to continue cruising along. Catcher Aaron Basler picked off a runner following back-to-back walks in the fourth.
Two-out singles from Nathan Geile and Basler in the fourth generated an unearned run for a 7-0 cushion. Weiler ended the contest with a RBI single through the middle off reliever Korbin Hicks.
Each team turned one double play, and Valle played its third straight error-free game.
Plattsburg (18-6) will meet Linn (19-9) this morning in the Class 2 third-place contest.
Plattsburg 000 000 – 0 1 5
Valle 051 103 – 10 8 0
WP – Greminger 6i 0r 1h 11k 2bb.
LP – Davis 3i 6r 5er 3h 1k 4bb.
Plattsburg – Foster 1-2.
Valle – Weiler 2-3, Moulton 1-1, Blum 1-2, Geile 1-3, Basler 1-3, Greminger 1-3, Carrow 1-3. 3b – Carrow. RBI – Carrow 3, Weiler 2, Bieser, Blum, Greminger, Moulton.