DEFIANCE – Two important aspects in baseball are playing mistake free defense and timely hitting. Those two elements were lacking on Wednesday as Wauseon dropped an 8-1 decision to two-time defending state champion Defiance in the Division II sectional semifinal.
In total, the Indians committed six errors to only one by the Bulldogs.
“That’s kind of what we’ve done all year. We’ve had multiple games with plus five errors,” said Wauseon coach Trent Thomas after the game. “I thought we had some good at bats and they (Defiance) made some really good plays. But, you’re not gonna give up whatever unearned runs we did and (hope to win) against a great Defiance team.”
For Wauseon on the offensive side, they had a pair of 1-2-3 innings to begin the game until finally getting their first hit in the top of the third inning. They trailed 2-0 at the time.
CJ Moser smacked a one-out single to left, but he was out at second after Everett Bueter’s fielder’s choice. Bueter then stole second, where he came home on a RBI single by Carter Bzovi to trim the Defiance lead in half at 2-1.
The big inning for the Bulldogs came in the next half inning as they tallied four runs on three hits.
A leadoff double off the bat of Bryce Borton got them going. Borton would successfully steal third, and after a strikeout, pitcher Austin Taylor’s bunt forced a throw away from Wauseon scoring a run.
Defiance followed with a sacrifice bunt by Blayne Robinson for the second out, a walk and a steal from Emilio Gonzalez, and a two-run infield single from Levi Robarge to make it 6-1 through three.
The Bulldogs added a run from Braden Frederick on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth, and also an unearned run in the fifth to equal the final tally.
Wauseon had quality opportunities to score in both the fifth and sixth, however, both times they came up empty.
Jacob Raabe got to first via a catcher’s interference leading off the fifth, then Xavier Torres registered a base hit and Moser was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But, the Bulldogs caught a break when Taylor’s wild pitch came right back to the catcher during Bueter’s at-bat. Eric Parker, who was running for Raabe, attempted to score but was tagged out at the plate.
“That was my fault. We got a little too aggressive down that many runs,” said Thomas. “But, we’d seen three passed balls go back there and kick one way or the other and that one comes right back to him.”
Taylor would strike out both Bueter and Bzovi to avoid any damage.
Then in the Wauseon sixth, they loaded the bases with one out on walks to Brooks Gype and Marcel Barajas, as well as a hit by pitch. However, Defiance reliever Logan Andonian got the double play he needed which ended the threat.
Bzovi took the loss on the mound for the Indians, allowing seven runs despite only one of those being earned, with five strikeouts and three walks in four innings pitched.
“He pitched pretty well,” explained Thomas of his starter. “He didn’t have his fastball command tonight. But he’s a battler, and he’s a competitor. So he went out there and just couldn’t spot his fastball well enough to get ahead and then he was behind a couple guys. Overall, I thought he gave us a chance to win.”
Taylor went 5 innings for Defiance, allowing a run on three hits with eight strikeouts to get the win.
Bzovi, Torres and Moser had the hits for Wauseon. Borton went 2 for 3 with a pair of runs scored for Defiance.
The Indians then fell to 4-18 on the season with a 3-1 defeat on the road at Fairview Thursday. They have a non-league game at home against Holgate Tuesday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010