Whoever swings momentum in their favor last, usually comes out on top in an athletic contest. That is perhaps moreso the case in prep sports than college or pro.
During the District 2 ACME baseball sectional final Sunday in Wauseon, the hometown Indians – led by starting pitcher Brady Thomas – were able to get out of a bases loaded jam while only giving up one run in the bottom of the fifth, then scored five times over the next two innings in a 5-2 win over Napoleon.
“Winning the sectional tournament’s big for us,” said Wauseon ACME coach Nate Suntken. “Napoleon was a team that put it on us pretty good earlier this (ACME) season. For us to come back and show the growth that we’ve had this year has been good. I expect nothing less of these kids. They have great talent. I feel like if we can pull it together, we’ll be making a pretty decent run.”
With the win, the Indians have secured a spot in next weekend’s district tournament at Patrick Henry beginning Friday.
The Napoleon offense got going in the fifth with three straight hits, the latter being a RBI single to right field by Zach Miller for a 1-0 Wildcat lead. Tanner Rubinstein then walked to load the bases, however, Thomas struck out the next three to retire the side.
Thomas gave up only that one run in five innings of work, allowing just three hits and punching out eight batters.
“He did a fantastic job for us today,” stated Suntken. “I can’t ask anything more of a starter. He gave us five full, quality innings. And you know, he really showed his heart out there. With the bases loaded and no outs, he ends up only giving up one run. That was great. Then our team picked up and answered.”
The Indians answered in each of the final two innings.
In the sixth Sam Krasula reached on a fielding error to lead it off. After a flyout, Cody Figy’s blooper to right put runners on the corners and he later stole second. Then, Thomas got it done with the bat as well, singling home Krasula to knot the score at 1-1.
A changing of pitchers followed for Napoleon, as new pitcher Tate Rubinstein drew a flyout for the second out. Nevertheless, a walk by Wauseon’s Clay Stump loaded the bases, followed by a rip from Cameron Cantu to bring in two more, giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.
Wauseon would pick up where they left off in the top of the seventh. Krasula once again got it started, drilling a one-out single to center field.
A drop in center allowed Sean Brock to reach, plus he and Krasula moved up a base on a wild pitch. Figy then brought home the Indians’ final runs with a two-run single.
“You’ve got to find the pitch that you can hit and drive it,” said Suntken of his team’s offense. “I think a lot of these kids are really figuring out what pitches are theirs. And that’s a really big thing for a young high schooler to do. We were hitting it hard all game. We didn’t put anything up through five, but, they fall eventually. And when they fell, they gave us a big enough lead to carry it through.”
Kolten DeGroff, who relieved Thomas to start the sixth, ran into a bit of trouble with two outs in the seventh. He issued two walks and also hit a batter, then an error scored a Wildcat run to pull them within 5-2. DeGroff got out of it when he got Haden Ehlers to ground out to first.
Wauseon blanks Delta, 2-0
Solid pitching and missed opportunities for Delta enabled Wauseon to advance out of the sectional semifinal with a 2-0 shutout win over the visiting Panthers Friday.
Garnering one earned and one unearned run in the top of the third inning was all the cushion the Indians would need.
Easton Delgado and Krasula led off with base hits, each also stealing second base. Following a groundout, a Figy sac fly got the Indians on the board. Their second tally came in when DeGroff reached on a Panther error, scoring Krasula.
The Panthers left some runs on the board throughout the game, most noticeably in the second and fourth innings.
Prior to Wauseon gaining the edge in the third, Delta left the bases loaded in the home half of the second. Trevor Wittes drew a one-out walk, but was replaced by Chase Stickley who hit a fielder’s choice to second.
Bryce Reeves reached thanks to a Wauseon fielding error, plus a hit by pitch to Drew Clifton loaded the bases. However, Stump struck out Kalvin Tenney to end the threat.
Both Wittes and Reeves recorded base hits in the fourth. They moved into scoring position on a wild pitch delivered to Clifton, but with two outs recorded, the ensuing groundout by Clifton stymied the rally.
Much like Sunday, Wauseon was led by its starting pitcher. Stump went six innings, scattering three hits and striking out seven to earn the win. Jaden Conrad finished out the contest for the Indians.
Austin Michael took the loss for Delta, but for all intents and purposes pitched a gem. He went the full seven innings, surrendering only five hits while fanning a pair.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010