Delta capped off a stellar showing at the District 3 ACME sectional baseball tournament with a 10-0 five-inning victory over Napoleon Monday in a game played at Wauseon.
“We just did a lot of things right,” said Panther summer coach Bill Vaughan. “We hit the ball, ran the bases great, our defense was perfect.
“When you play the game right, it gets to be a lot of fun quickly.”
Delta scored four right away in the bottom of the first, beginning with a two-run single with the bases full by Robby Arredondo. A Tristan Saeger ground out scored Jason Beverly to make it 3-0, then after a walk and hit by pitch, Colin Rouleau’s sacrifice bunt plated Arredondo.
The Panthers manufactured a run in their half of the second as Gabe Freeman reached on an error, then advanced to both second and third on wild pitches. He scored when the next batter, Cole Mattin, grounded out to push their lead to 5-0 through two.
On the other side, Napoleon did not manage their first hit until Mitchell Kruse’s single with two down in the top of the third.
Mattin shut that inning down when he forced a ground out off the bat of Zack Rosebrook. He went the full five innings on the mound for the Panthers, giving up two hits and striking out three while pitching a shutout.
“He located well,” said Vaughan of Mattin’s effort on the mound. “On a couple of the 3-1 pitches he had, he came inside and it just froze them. They weren’t looking for that. They wanted to extend those arms and drive the ball.
“He didn’t hit the center of the bats. That’s a big thing, don’t hit the center of the bats.”
A Freeman two-run single put the margin at 7-0 after three. Neither team scored in the fourth, but Delta returned to form in the fifth, just in time to end the game via the run rule.
Delta’s Jacob Schneider bunted to lead off the frame, getting to second when the throw to first elluded the first baseman. He moved to third on a ball in the dirt, then Rouleau followed with a walk and a steal of second to put both runners in scoring position.
Freeman’s ground ball scored Schneider, Mattin singled home Rouleau, and Beverly reached on an error that scored Mattin ending the game.
Freeman paced the Panther offense as he went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs. Arredondo and Mattin each went 1 for 2 with a walk and two RBIs. Kruse and Caleb Franz had the hits for the Wildcats.
Wesley Jefferies-Babcock was charged with the loss for Napoleon after pitching the first two innings. He allowed five runs on four hits with only one strikeout.
It will be Delta’s first trip to the ACME district tournament in 10 years. The opportunity is one both coach Vaughan and his players will embrace.
“It is pretty exciting the way these kids are coming together,” said Vaughan. “We look forward to seeing how far we can get. It is going to be tough. We are going to be the only D-III team (in the district). But, that doesn’t mean that much in baseball. You play the game right, it doesn’t matter how big or how small (of a school) you are.”
In their first game of the district tournament, the Panthers will take on Perrysburg at approximately 6 p.m. Friday at the Yellow Jackets’ home field.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010