Schnieders hurls Fatima to victory against Blair Oaks

Fatima pitcher Patrick Schnieders strides and delivers while working in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against Blair Oaks at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

Fatima pitcher Patrick Schnieders strides and delivers while working in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against Blair Oaks at the Falcon Athletic Complex. Photo by Kris Wilson.

WARDSVILLE — Patrick Schnieders got his wish.

After getting knocked around on short rest by Blair Oaks in last season’s district title game, the Fatima senior wanted another chance.

“I wanted Blair Oaks from the beginning,” he said. “To get revenge on them from last year.”

He made the most of that chance Wednesday night.

Schnieders pitched a complete-game shutout to lead Fatima past Blair Oaks 3-0 in the Class 3 District 13 Tournament championship at the Falcon Athletic Complex, delivering the Comets their first district baseball title since 2002.

“Two words. Patrick Schnieders,” Fatima head coach Scott Kilgore said. “The kid came out firing. He was here on this stage last year and he picked up (this year). We let it slip through our fingers as a team last year, but these boys have worked hard all season long and they deserve it.

“When you can win a game like this and have the performance he just had, what more can you ask for? That is a great moment for him.”

Dominant doesn’t begin to describe the right-hander’s effort on the mound. Schnieders struck out 11 batters and allowed just one hit and one walk on 100 pitches.

“I threw great and did what I wanted to do,” Schnieders said. “It’s a good feeling.”

After allowing a leadoff single to Logan Bax to begin the game, Schnieders was just about perfect the remainder of the contest. A two-out walk in the fourth inning was the only other blemish on Schnieders’ line. Of the two baserunners he allowed, neither reached second.

“He was lights out. He was really dealing tonight,” Blair Oaks head coach Harv Antle said. “He moved the ball around in the zone, got us to chase a little bit. His breaking ball was close enough to the zone that we fished after it a couple times. He was able to spot his fastball. He was just pretty dynamite on the mound tonight.”

Schnieders primarily used two pitches, the fastball and the curveball, with a few changeups mixed in.

“He started well and got progressively better,” Antle said. “I don’t think his velocity dropped off as the game went on (he reached 88 mph on the radar gun). “When a guy is dealing like that, you just try to stay the course and hope that he tires a little bit and drops off and maybe catch a break here or there. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.”

Schnieders got all the offense he needed in the bottom of the third. No. 9 hitter Hunter Hennier drew a leadoff walk before Nolan Bax was issued a one-out free pass. Following a wild pitch that moved the runners up a base, Reid Kesel lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home Hennier and make it 1-0.

The Comets tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth. After Bax drew a leadoff walk, Kesel came up big again and smacked an RBI double to the gap in right.

“Reid’s been clutch all year,” Kilgore said. “When he’s on, he’s tough. You can’t get him out. He’s going to put the ball in play and he’s going to hit it hard. He likes to find the gaps.”

The hit chased Blair Oaks starter Kyler Maxey, who was charged with the third run when Schnieders brought home Kesel on a double to left a batter later. Maxey tossed four innings and allowed the three runs on four hits with six walks and four strikeouts.

“He did it with the bat and he did it on the mound,” Kilgore said of Schnieders. “He got the timely hit and drove in the run. With the way he was throwing I could tell he didn’t need many.”

Schnieders bested Maxey in a battle of future teammates. The two will play for Jefferson College next year.

“It’s a great feeling but next year we’re going to be teammates, so we just have to put it behind us,” Schnieders said. “We’re good friends. We kind of gave each other a little trouble (before the game), but nothing major.”

Blair Oaks ends its season at 17-6.

“It was a good season,” Antle said. “I know the kids are disappointed. They’re hurting right now. That group of seniors has been to the district championship three years in a row.

“We’ll be back next year. We’ll reload. We won’t necessarily look to rebuild. We don’t use that term. We have some guys waiting in the wings.”

Fatima (19-5) will host the winner of today’s District 14 championship game between Holden and Sherwood in a sectional Monday.

“We’re not done yet,” Kilgore said. “We’re going to keep rolling.”

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