An early lead for Patrick Henry quickly disappeared thanks to a six run bottom of the second inning for Wauseon as they then cruised to a 12-4 home field win in ACME baseball action Tuesday. The contest was a rare one in that it was a high school baseball game scheduled for nine innings instead of seven.
“I was pleased with the youngsters that came in because that’s really their first opportunity tonight. I have not seen them play,” said Wauseon ACME coach Doug Rupp on the win.
The Patriots opened the top of the first inning with a leadoff walk to Mason Fintel. Following a fly out, Fintel stole second where a single by Joe Nickels scored him. Kal Harris was also walked by Indian starter Travis Smith.
The fifth man to bat in the inning, Jordan Moore, hit into a fielder’s choice in which Harris was out at second. However, an errant attempt to turn the double play brought home Nickels to give Patrick Henry a 2-0 advantage.
The Patriots then loaded the bases on bloop single from Axel Shanks and a batter hit by pitch, but Smith struck out Kaiden McGraw to end the threat.
The Indians got singles from Josh Whitcomb and Brady Rupp, but they were stranded on first and third in the bottom half of the first. However, the Indian offense came through in the second.
First Jacob Raable reached second base thanks to fly ball dropped in the outfield. A successful sacrifice bunt moved Raabe over to third and an error by the Patriots plated him to get the Indians on the scoreboard.
After a CJ Moser single and an Indian ground out, Whitcomb hit a blooper for a pair of RBIs to give Wauseon the lead, 3-2.
JJ Kauffman and Carter Bzovi finished off the relentless offensive attack as Kauffman knocked in Whitcomb with a single and Bzovi followed with a two-run homer to left which made it 6-2.
Patrick Henry did get a run back in their half of the third to pull them within 6-3, but Wauseon tacked on in the bottom of the fourth. Moser led off with a walk and Everett Bueter singled to put the pressure on Nickels, who was making the start for the Patriots.
Whitcomb capitalized with a triple into the gap to extend his squad’s lead to 8-3. A ground out from Kauffman scored Whitcomb and the lead was 9-3, Indians after four.
Bueter, who replaced Smith on the mound for Wauseon, stranded a two-out single from Shanks to close out the Patriot threat.
“He has a little issue sometimes about arm slot but he works through it,” stated Rupp of Bueter’s effort. “I think as he continues to develop and get stronger, we will be OK.”
Wauseon scored again in the sixth inning, with two outs as Kauffman stepped to the plate and drilled Wauseon’s second home run of the game, the second long ball to left field which gave them a seven run lead.
“Bzovi and JJ’s home runs, those jumped off the bat,” said Rupp. “We know JJ kind of struggled all spring season. I think he is getting it going here this summer.”
Wauseon added a run in both the seventh and eighth innings and Kauffman closed out the Patrick Henry offense in their final two at bats. He had four strikeouts and allowed zero Patriot hits in his two innings of work.
“I kind of like that role of bringing him in towards the end there because he throws strikes,” said Rupp. “He is always going to be around the plate.”
Whitcomb paced the Indians on offense as he finished 3 for 3 with four RBIs. Bueter went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Smith pitched three innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out five. Nickels took the loss on the mound for the Patriots.
Wauseon next travels to Archbold tonight for a contest before competing in the Defiance Crack the Bat tournament over the weekend. The game with Archbold is set for 7:30 p.m.