TIFFIN - One of the newest features at Peaceful Valley is the "batter's eye" windscreen behind center field. Judging by the low-scoring weekend series between Heidelberg University and Manchester University, perhaps 'Berg head coach Matt Palm should send the windscreen back.
With temperatures hovering around freezing, pitching dominated the three game set between the Student Princes and the 21st-ranked Spartans. After Heidelberg took a 2-1 win on Saturday, Manchester won the first game on Sunday 3-2. In the rubber match, The Berg emerged with a 2-1 victory.
In Sunday's first game, Heidelberg starter Ryan Minteer (Venetia, PA/Peters Township) ran into trouble in the fifth. Minteer (1-2) issued two walks to start the inning. One run scored on an RBI single by Bryce Murphy. With two outs and the bases loaded, Manchester coach Rick Espeset elected to start all three base runners. With Kyle Norris bearing down on home plate, Minteer's pitch ricocheted off of the glove of catcher Jordan Martin (Powell/Olentangy Liberty) to the backstop. Charging hard, Murphy scored from second for the third Spartan run.
Heidelberg was able to touch up Manchester starter Kyle Konarski for a run in the seventh. Steve Morse (Scottsdale, AZ/Orchard Lake [MI.] Saint Mary's) drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by Joe Chiarappa (Clinton/St. Vincent - St. Mary). With one out, Martin doubled over the head of the left fielder. Morse scored, but Chiarappa was thrown out at third. Konarski ended the rally by getting a groundout.
In the ninth, Heidelberg mounted a two-out rally. Arneal Squibb (Mishawaka, IN) singled and advanced to second on an error. Pinch hitter Doug Miller (West Friendship, MD/Glenelg Country School) singled to score Squibb. Pinch runner Noah Reiter (Ferndale, MI) stole second, but was stranded to end the game.
Sunday's second game featured a dominant performance by Heidelberg starter Tyler Fruhwirth (Beavercreek). The senior went 7.2 innings and allowed one run.
The Student Princes scored twice in the third. Miller led off the inning with a single. Derek Hug (Bryan) followed with a tapper in front of the plate. The Manchester catcher elected to throw to second to try to force out Miller, but the throw sailed into center field. Martin sacrificed Miller and Hug over. Joe Staab (Bellville/Clear Fork) lifted a sacrifice fly into center, scoring Miller. Trevor Oldham (Akron/Hoban) doubled down the left field line to score Hug.
The two runs were all that Fruhwirth and the Heidelberg bullpen would need.
Manchester scored a run in the eighth on an RBI double by Jordan Niemann, but that was as close as Manchester would get.
Teddy Lowe (Fort Wayne, IN/Carroll) worked scoreless relief in both games of the doubleheader. All totaled, Heidelberg's pen worked 5.2 scoreless innings of relief for the weekend.
"The bullpen has been very good all year," said Palm, in his 14th season. "They have attacked the zone and finished off many games. That is a sign of great depth."
Kyle Fluharty (Plymouth/Willard) worked the ninth for his third save of the season.
Prior to the first game, Heidelberg baseball formally dedicated Patriots Park at Peaceful Valley. Patriots Park, a gift by The Lowe Family Foundation, honors and remembers all past, present and future service members in the United States Armed Forces.
Heidelberg returns to action on Wednesday at Adrian College. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.