NAPOLEON – While they may have gotten off to a slow start offensively, Wauseon was able to tack on six runs in the top of the seventh inning to erase a one run deficit and pick up an 11-6 win at Napoleon in ACME play on Tuesday.
“In the beginning we made some base running mistakes. We didn’t swing at good pitches,” said the Indians’ summer coach Doug Rupp. “We were making some bad decisions, especially with runners in scoring position.”
“They kept battling.”
The Indians did score first, however, as Josh Whitcomb led off the game by reaching on an error and JJ Kauffman singled followed by a Carter Bzovi walk. Brady Rupp hit into a fielder’s choice which got Bzovi out at second, scoring Whitcomb to give Wauseon a 1-0 advantage.
But it was the Wildcats who responded in the home half of the first, beginning with Derek Sholl’s one-out walk. Dylan Kirkendall was struck by a pitch and Hunter Wilde’s walk loaded the bases.
A hitter later, a wild pitch scored Sholl to tie the game. Napoleon added two more in the frame when Brock Hardy reached second on a fielding blunder by the Indians which made it a 3-1 Wildcat lead.
Wauseon reduced their lead at 3-2 in the second thanks to an error which plated Jac Flory.
The two offense’s stayed quiet until the top of the fourth when the Indians were able to reclaim the lead. Flory was hit by a pitch to start things off, followed by a double to left-center field from Travis Smith.
A ground out from Brooks Gype allowed Flory to come home to knot the game at three, and when interference was called on the Napoleon first baseman on a grounder by Carter Stump, Smith scored to put the Indians ahead.
With one out in the next half inning and Smith in for Brady Rupp on the mound for Wauseon, Hardy reached on an error which scored Wilde who led off the inning with a single. This tied the game at four.
Wauseon once again got the lead in the fifth as Rupp drilled a one-out triple to right-center and Jacob Raabe’s ground out scored him.
“I thought he did a good job of sitting back and being patient,” said coach Rupp of his son in the batter’s box. “It was nice to see him get going here against ACME pitching because we are going to need him.”
However, the Wildcats got a pair of runs back in their half of the third, beginning with starting pitcher Dylan Unverferth who singled with one out. Sholl was then hit by a pitch, but Kirkendall grounded out to first for the second out.
Wilde would get the job done when his hard hit ball to left was dropped to score Unverferth and Sholl to give the Wildcats a 6-5 clip.
That score remained the same until the top of the seventh with the Indians at bat. Kauffman started off the frame with a walk and stole second, and after a ground out, Rupp drilled an RBI single which scored the tying run.
Rupp also stole second, while back-to-back hit by pitches loaded the bases with still only one out. Smith’s grounder scored a pair of runs when a throw home was airmailed, putting the Indians ahead, 8-6.
Another error plated Flory and a suicide squeeze by CJ Moser scored Smith to increase the advantage at 10-6. The final run came across the board as Whitcomb hammered an RBI single two batters later.
“CJ (Moser) had a great bunt. And those are the little things we are trying to work on now because it might come back to help us with some confidence going into the tournament,” stated Rupp.
Kauffman secured the win for Wauseon in the bottom of the seventh as he only allowed a one-out single to Unverferth. He also paced the Indians on offense as he finished 2 for 3 and had a pair of walks.
Rupp did not get the win on the mound, but he allowed only one hit and struck out four Napoleon batters in his three innings of work.