By DOUG DONNELLY
SAND CREEK – Cole Giesige left a lasting impression in his final athletic contest of his career.
The Whiteford senior three-sport athlete struck out 14 Onsted batters, had the lone Bobcat RBI and kept his team in the game until the final pitch in a 2-1 Division 3 Regional semifinal loss.
“He was fantastic,” Whiteford coach Terry Pant said. “He pitched a heck of a game. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Giesige struck out the first six batters he faced from the No. 11-ranked Wildcats, who have 30 wins and won the Lenawee County Athletic Association championship.
“He’s the best pitcher we’ve faced all season,” Onsted coach Matthew Randall said. “He pitched great for them.”
The game came down to which team would make the first mistake and, unfortunately for the Bobcats, it was them. Onsted pushed across two runs in the fourth inning.
Lincoln Lipinski reached first base when he was hit by a pitch. Onsted’s No. 4 hitter Broc Shoemaker bunted and was safe on an error and Lipinski scored on the throw. With Shoemaker on second, Harrison Moore singled him home for a 2-0 Onsted lead.
Whiteford got one back in the fifth inning, loading the bases on a couple of walks, a fielder’s choice and an infield single by Shea Ruddy. Giesige bounced out, scoring the Bobcats only run of the game.
Whiteford put a runner in scoring position in the sixth when Luke Rasor doubled, but he was stranded. In the top of the seventh, Ruddy reached first when he was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a balk by Lipinski, who replaced Hunt after the starter threw 75 pitches.
Giesige, Whiteford’s top hitter, was up at bat when he fouled off a pitch by Lipinski. Onsted catcher Alex Schmidt made a great play at the fence to end the game.
“I had my best hitter at the plate,” Pant said. “I liked that situation.
“We had our chances, but we couldn’t that timely hit. We hit the ball hard, we just hit it right at someone.”
Giesige allowed just two hits and didn’t walk anyone in six innings.
Ruddy had two hits and Rasor one. Isaiah Joerin drew two walks for Whiteford, who closed the season 25-7.
Whiteford closed the season a league and district championship. The district was the first Division 3 district title in school history.
“We went out to the No. 11 ranked team in the state in a 2-1 game,” Pant said. “I told the guys I was proud of them. That was a great game. We had a great season.
“We were the underdog. After winning league and district titles, everything else was just icing on the cake. We had a great season.”
Onsted advanced to Saturday’s regional final at Adrian College. The await the winner of Buchanan and Climax-Scotts. Buchanan is the No. 2 ranked team in Division 3.