Wauseon took advantage of a brief loss of control by Napoleon starting pitcher Landon Willeman late in the game, using a hit and three walks – including a base on balls with the bases loaded – to push across the winning run for a 1-0 triumph in a Division II baseball district semifinal Thursday in Archbold.
The Indians advance to face the third-ranked team in the state, Bowling Green, Saturday in the district championship. First pitch is at 11 a.m.
“For me, it’s the first time I’ve been to the district championship,” stated Wauseon coach Trent Thomas on how special of a win this was. “In this district, it means a lot to get to the district finals. This district is, I think the best Division II district in the state.”
Wauseon did its damage to the Wildcats in the home half of the fifth inning.
Sam Krasula blooped a single to right field to start it off. Both Sean Brock and Joey Shema followed with walks, however, Willeman would strikeout Trevor Rodriguez and induce a pop out by way of a bunt attempt by Easton Delgado, nearly allowing himself to escape the frame unscathed. But Levi Krasula drew a walk to force in his brother Sam, giving the Indians what ended up being the winning run.
“We’ve grown up a lot,” said Thomas of his team’s plate discipline. “And again, kids are putting good at-bats together. That was huge, getting some walks. We got a run in there off a walk, which is unfortunate for them but great for us.”
On the defensive side for the Indians, they received another stellar outing from sophomore hurler Connar Penrod. He wiggled out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings, then sent Napoleon down in order in both the sixth and seventh.
In the fourth the Wildcats used an error, plus Carter Burken’s base hit and a walk to Wes Jefferies-Babcock, loading the bases with only one down. However, Penrod caught a soft pop up off the bat of Hayden Speaks, then struck out Brandon Torrez to end the threat.
Napoleon registered a pair of one-out singles from Willeman and Caleb Farr in the top of the fifth. Penrod halted that rally by punching out Jacob Smith and Jarrett Gerdeman.
He finished the game by allowing just four hits, striking out 12 Wildcat hitters as well.
“He’s been lights out the last few times out on the mound,” said Thomas of Penrod. “We didn’t (field) it well for him today. We had four errors. His pitch count went up because of that. Other than that, he was around the (strike) zone all day.
“He’s an ultimate competitor. He wants to win at whatever he’s doing,” added the coach. “Whether he’s just walking around outside trying to beat someone to the bus or whatever. That’s him. As the game went on I knew he was gonna keep going.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010