One rough inning is all it takes sometimes to flip a baseball game in one team’s favor. That’s what happened Monday at Jim Harmon Field in Delta when Wauseon, in their half of the sixth, was able to turn a pair of Panther errors into five runs and then tacked on three more in the seventh for an 8-2 win in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League opener.
“We had been hitting the ball hard and hadn’t been getting rewarded for it,” said Wauseon coach Trent Thomas on the lead up to the sixth inning. “We had a couple line drives, hard ground balls (throughout the game), and they made plays. We just decided, hey we were gonna play some small ball. If we could get a first guy on we played some small ball. Then they made a couple (errors) that gave us more runners on base without outs. We took advantage of it.”
Delta scraped their run across in the bottom of the first. Chase Stickley and Max Hoffman had singled in the inning, then with two outs, consecutive hit by pitches to Austin Michael and Jayce Helminiak brought home Stickley for the one-run lead.
But, the Indians and starting pitcher Easton Delgado avoided further damage by getting Bryce Reeves to ground out.
Wauseon finally got to Delta starter Hunter Hamilton in the sixth.
Eli Delgado reached on a fielding error, Easton Delgado dropped down a bunt for a single, then Kolton DeGroff hit a fielder’s choice to third but Eli was able to beat the third baseman to the bag and everyone was safe, loading the bases with no one out.
Sam Krasula would be struck with a pitch to force in the tying run. Following a pop up, Wauseon executed a squeeze play with Penrod that brought home Easton Delgado and gave them a 2-1 advantage. Then, prior to Hamilton striking out Brady Thomas, DeGroff scored on a ball in the dirt for another Indian run.
Cameron Cantu completed the rally with a two-run single to make it a 5-1 difference.
“That was huge add on runs in a game because they were putting guys on base all day against our guys,” Thomas stated. “I thought Maddux (Chamberlin) came in and threw well. I thought Easton threw well, he’s just a little erratic. But yeah, anytime you can add any runs, I mean we’ve been struggling to get runs on the board. In a league game getting runs on the board and adding on gave a little more freedom in the last inning to kind of play behind (hitters).”
“They got a couple bunts down and executed plus bases. And we did not there early in the game to really put the pressure on them. Trent does a good job with that program over there. He’s a good coach,” said Delta skipper Damon Mattimore.
“Hunter Hamilton threw well tonight. He had 115 pitches, got us through some good points of the game. Defensively (drew) some fly balls for us with some off-speed pitches. Which he’s been having some trouble with that early on in the season, but it seemed like tonight he was locked in for his first senior league game,” Mattimore added.
In the top of the seventh, Easton Delgado recorded a one-out double and later scored on a wild pitch. Also, Clay Stump’s two-run single with the bases loaded put the Indians up 8-1.
The Panthers scored their second run of the game in the next half inning when Hamilton drove in Kalvin Tenney with a two-out base hit.
For their efforts, Wauseon goes to 1-0 in the NWOAL and puts Delta in the loss column in league play.
“You’re probably not gonna win this league if you lose your first game,” said Thomas. “That’s a team (Delta) that will beat some teams in our league and come up on some people. Because they swung it pretty well. They had eight or nine hits on us.
“I’m proud of our guys. They’re all in it for each other and they are excited for each other’s successes. So that’s good for us.”
Outside of Stump and Cantu each driving in a pair of runs, Easton Delgado went 2 for 4 in the batter’s box and scored two runs. Krasula and DeGroff also scored a pair of runs each.
Hamilton paced the Panthers as he went 2 for 4 with a run batted in. He took the loss on the mound despite pitching six innings, allowing five runs although none were earned, and striking out four. Stickley was 1 for 4 and scored a run for the Panthers.
Earning the win in relief was Chamberlin. He went the final three frames, allowing a run on two hits with three punchouts and zero walks.
The Indians then won 14-4 at Otsego on Tuesday. Jude Armstrong paced the offense by going 2 for 2 with three RBIs and a run scored. Stump struck out 11 en route to getting the win on the mound.
Both teams resume league play Thursday. Wauseon hosts Archbold for a rivalry matchup, while Delta is at Swanton.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.