Swanton baseball got back in the win column in NWOAL play and in the process, handed Wauseon their first league blemish with a 3-0 shutout victory Thursday on the road.
Head coach Tim McCarthy thinks this could be a great building block for his Bulldogs.
“We’ve talked about trying to get it going because I know that the talent is here,” he said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit, but no time better than the present to get hot going into the tournament.”
“We didn’t field the ball well enough to win and we couldn’t string enough hits together to score runs,” said Wauseon coach Trent Thomas of the loss.
Already ahead 1-0 after an error plated Josh Adcock in the top of the first, the Bulldogs added onto their lead in the top of the fourth.
Marek Spiess led off with an infield single, then both Jonny Shanks and Hunter Mix drew one-out walks to load the bases. Swanton’s Roman Epley went down on strikes, but Spiess scored when the ball got away from the catcher to give them a 2-0 lead.
They would add to their lead in the fifth as well.
Jordon Nyler got it started with a base on balls. Oakes reached on a fielder’s choice which got Duyane Goings, who was running for Nyler, out at second base, and Michael Lawniczak pegged an infield single.
Coach McCarthy chose to have Spiess bunt and it worked in their favor, scoring Oakes from third which gave them a 3-0 advantage.
“Marek did a great job of getting it down,” said McCarthy of Spiess’ suicide squeeze. “He is one of the better bunters on our team so I had a lot of confidence in him to do it.”
The Bulldogs followed with good pitching from Nyler in the next half inning to keep the Indians off the scoreboard.
Wauseon’s Marcel Barajas reached on an error with one out, then pinch-runner Everett Bueter stole second. Nyler then got Brooks Gype to strike out, Franklin Peralta also reached on an error, but a ground out ended the inning with a pair of runners on base.
“Jordon did a great job of keeping them off balance,” said McCarthy. “We knew they were a pretty good hitting team coming in. And we knew that if we kept them off balance we would have a shot. He was extremely efficient, he didn’t walk anybody, and he only threw 80 pitches.”
The defense was the story for Swanton during Wauseon’s at bat in the sixth.
The Indians threatened with a pair of singles from JJ Kauffman and Carter Bzovi. However, the Bulldog outfield caught a flyout from Brady Rupp and a sharp liner hit by CJ Moser around a lineout to third off the bat of Brady Kinnersley to leave the runners stranded.
“We need to tighten up defensively but we did make the plays when we had to make them,” stated the Bulldog mentor.
Swanton left a pair of runners in scoring position in their half of the seventh, keeping the margin at three heading into the final at bat for the Indians.
The frame began on a positive for Wauseon, as Barajas made it to second by way of a throw to first that got by the first baseman and went into the opposing dugout. But it would end in Swanton’s favor when Gype lined out to center and the runner at second was doubled off.
Then, a foul out to first ended the game.
“That was a heads up play by Gunnar (Oakes) in knowing the situation,” said McCarthy of the play made by his centerfielder.
Bzovi, Wauseon’s starter on the mound, kept the Dogs in check for a lot of the time but allowed three runs on two hits while walking seven and striking out 11. Kinnersley pitched the final inning for the Indians.
“Carter pitched well but still walked too many batters and when you make errors and walk people, good teams take advantage,” said Thomas.
Adcock and Lawniczak had the lone hits for Swanton, while Kauffman, Bzovi and Rupp were each 1 for 3 for Wauseon.
Despite not having any strikeouts, Nyler scattered three hits to get the win.
The Bulldogs then added a 5-4 NWOAL win at home over Patrick Henry on Friday, while the Indians defeated Toledo Christian 7-2 in a non-league contest.
Wauseon hosts Delta today in league action and Swanton visits Toledo Rogers.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010