TOLEDO – Wauseon exacted revenge in the best possible way, avenging a 9-0 loss suffered in the third game of the season to Toledo Central Catholic, by nipping the Fighting Irish 3-2 Friday in a Division II baseball sectional final held at Mercy Field.
“Our schedule’s prepared us for tournament,” said Wauseon mentor Trent Thomas after the game. “We were kind of up and down all year. And I knew that (this win) was what we were capable of. We put it all together. All three phases of the game: pitching, fielding, and hitting were fantastic in a big game.”
The Indians banged out nine hits to just two from their opponent, flipping the script on the Irish.
“It was the same starters as the last time we faced them early in the year (March 26),” explained Thomas. “And we had two hits that game, and they had about 10. So it was kind of the reverse of that. They are a great team. We were fortunate enough to beat them.”
Despite leading 1-0 throughout the first three innings, Wauseon would relinquish the lead in the fourth.
Justin Schiets got the Irish started with a two-out double to right field, then three straight walks – including a bases-loaded free pass to CJ Buchele – knotted the game at one run apiece. Wauseon pitcher Connar Penrod – who went on to toss a complete game – then hit Tony Rodriguez with the bases still full, giving the Irish their first and only lead of the game.
That was the last run Penrod would allow. He allowed two runs on two hits with seven strikeouts and seven walks.
“He has two pitches, his slider and his fastball,” said Thomas of his sophomore hurler. “His fastball moves a lot. He was able to locate his fastball quite a bit today and keep them off balance. And his slider was pretty good.”
Wauseon reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Joey Shema singled to left to lead off the frame, and Cody Figy dropped down a bunt which rode the line at first, reaching safely when Central Catholic pitcher Brent Matus whiffed on picking up the ball.
After a Levi Krasula sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Easton Delgado’s RBI single knotted it at 2-2. The Indians plated another on Brady Thomas’ RBI hit, scoring Figy.
For the Irish’ last chance in the seventh, they loaded the bases around two outs as Rodriguez got a single, Wilson Stopera walked, and Jase Bowen was given an intentional free pass. This left it up to Schiets, but Penrod got him down on strikes allowing the Indians to celebrate.
“That’s a tribute to our kids. They are fantastic,” said Thomas on his team fighting back after losing the lead. “All year we’ve played games like that, where we’ve given up leads and lost games. And they’ve come back the next day ready to go.”
Wauseon (11-13) now advances to the district tournament at Archbold which begins Thursday. They will take on sixth-seeded Napoleon, who they fell to 10-4 back in March.
“Napoleon’s played really well (recently),” stated Thomas. “(Landon) Willeman, when he’s on the mound, and they’ve shut us down with the (Jacob) Smith kid. So they are a very good team too. Hard to beat. They are battle-tested too.”
The Indians and Wildcats will be the nightcap with first pitch coming at approximately 7 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010