Wauseon – who was on a tear over the final few weeks of the season – saw its 2019 campaign come to a close Saturday at Archbold’s Memorial Park, falling 8-2 to third-ranked Bowling Green in a Division II baseball district final.
Indians’ head coach Trent Thomas had nothing but praise for the victorious Bobcats following the game.
“They’re very good up and down the lineup,” said the skipper. “Their 1-8 (hitters), and really 9 can swing it pretty well (also).
“They are a good baseball team. They bring guys off the bench that can hit.”
The Bobcats jumped ahead in the bottom of the first inning as an Isaac Elsasser bases-loaded walk made it a 1-0 game. However, Wauseon would respond in the next half inning.
Joey Shema led off with a walk, Cody Figy bunted him over and when the Bowling Green first baseman misfired on a throw to second as Shema rounded the bag, he strolled into third. This set up Easton Delgado’s sac fly which knotted the score.
BG reclaimed the lead, 2-1, on a two-out RBI single from Bryce Hoehner in the home half of the second.
They put it out of reach with a four-run fourth. With the bases loaded, Kyle Jackson hammered a two-run single for a 4-1 Bobcat lead.
Wauseon starter Eric Parker then got Micah Fry down on strikes, but that’s when BG dipped into their bag of tricks. The safety squeeze was called, however, Parker gave a quick look to third before throwing to first to set down Eli Brown. But when the throw to first was made, the runner from third bolted home and slid in safely.
Elsasser’s RBI single plated Jackson to extend the lead to 6-1, thus ending the day for Parker. He was replaced by Sean Brock who finished the game.
“I thought Eric competed for us,” said Thomas of Parker’s outing. “It wasn’t his best stuff, but he competed the whole day for us. Just missed a couple spots.
“I can’t be more proud of our players for the last three weeks of baseball,” added the coach. “We could have easily mailed it in. We’ve had teams that do that. This senior class – although maybe not our most talented class – leadership has been phenomenal.”
Brock, after issuing a walk and hit by pitch, got a pop up to end the long inning.
Levi Krasula sparked some confidence back into the Indians in the top of the fifth, sending a shot over the fence in left field for a one-out home run.
“Levi Krasula is a program kid for us,” explained Thomas. “Played JV pretty much up until last year. Was a guy that wasn’t a starter for us last year even.
“I can’t feel more happy for a kid than Levi.”
With Wauseon still within four runs, BG slammed the door in their half of the seventh. Fry’s leadoff home run made it 7-2. After a flyout, Elsasser’s base hit and a Cody Thompson pinch-hit RBI double to left center ended the scoring.
BG left-hander Luke Roberts went the entire way on the mound, giving up six hits and three walks while striking out four. Parker went 3 2/3 innings in taking the loss.
“He was a little, I would say effectively wild. Because he would get down in the count, then he would come back,” said Thomas on Roberts. “He was throwing a change-up and a curve ball in any count. When you can do that for strikes, that’s huge. I don’t think he’s overpowering with his fastball, but we couldn’t sit on it.”
Offensively, Hoehner and Elsasser had three hits apiece to lead BG. Connar Penrod had two hits for Wauseon.
The Indians will return a solid core from a team that ended the year strong.
“We’re gonna lose six seniors that mean a lot to us,” said Thomas. “But overall, we start four sophomores and two or three juniors on certain days. We’ve got a lot coming back, but we’ve got to get better and better.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010