By Drew Terhall
MIAMISBURG — The Versailles baseball team ends their 2023 season as the Southwest Division III runners-up after they lost 7-4 to Cincinnati Country Day in the District finals at Dayton Christian High School on May 24.
After a rocky start to the game, Versailles calmed down and started to get runners on base in almost every inning. Head coach Brad Koopman said the team did a good job of putting some pressure on Country Day, but they just couldn’t get runners across.
“We knew they were going to be tough all around. You want to try to put guys on, put some pressure on them especially early in the game. We had great success with that tonight, just wasn’t able to push them across today,” Koopman said.
The Nighthawks took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman Jaemeson French had a two-run hit and sophomore Zach Pavlisko had a sacrifice flyout.
In the bottom of the third, a wild pitch and another sacrifice flyout from Pavlisko put Country Day up 6-0. Versailles made a few mistakes and were getting unlucky with some bounces that led up to being down 6-0.
The Tigers shook off the slow start and started to make their way back into this game. Koopman said this group has played with emotion, effort and hard work all season long. That has led to them getting back into games when they are down early.
In the fourth, senior Ethan Stover had a sacrifice ground out to get Versailles on the board. Senior Titus Gehret then had a two-run single to make it a 6-3 game. Then in the fifth after getting a lead-off single, senior Joe Ruhenkamp scored on a run down.
In this game, Ruhenkamp tied the school record for hits in a season with 49. Koopman said Ruhenkamp has put in the long hours during the offseason alone to improve and it paid off.
“Every bit of those 49 hits are earned. He put in that effort, that work and it paid off for him with tying the school record,” Koopman said.
Country Day added on another run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI triple by junior Parker Corbin.
Versailles got some runners on late, but couldn’t get the one hit to make it a closer game or to tie it.
The Tigers finished with an 18-12 record on the season. They will graduate a group of seniors that were major contributors to the team this season and throughout their careers.
Koopman said during his time here at Versailles, this group of seniors have been one of the best he has been around.
“Nine years here now at Versailles, this is one of the best groups, no offense to any of the previous classes, but one of the best groups to be around. They’re so good with each other. They’re so good as a team to be on each other, picking each other up, supportive and to be right there,” Koopman said.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]