Swanton broke open Thursday’s game with Delta — a contest in which they trailed on more than one occasion — using an eight-run third inning to take control as the Bulldogs went on to win 11-6 over the Panthers in non-league baseball.
The Dogs came out sluggish both on the mound and in the batter’s box. They used two pitchers in the first two innings and were forced to bring in a third, Ryan O’Shea, with the bases loaded, nobody out, and a run home in the top of the third.
The score was tied 3-3 at the time.
Swanton was able to record a pair of outs when Delta’s Brady Morr flew out to left field and Brody Waugh was thrown out at home plate. But the Panthers went ahead 4-3 as Bradyn Ruffer followed with an RBI single that scored Dylan Stricker. O’Shea then got Kalvin Tenney to strike out looking, ending that half inning.
In the bottom half, Swanton had a pair of strikeouts and a lineout which should have ended the inning with no damage done, but the second batter of the frame, Austyn Gossett, was able to make it to first on his strikeout thanks to a pitch that got away.
The Dogs would take advantage of the opportunity.
A Hunter Gowing walk and steal of second base put both him and Gossett in scoring position, then Trent Eitniear’s walk filled the bases. Caleb Ostrander-Bowser’s two-run single gave Swanton a 5-4 advantage, and his hit also forced out Panther starting pitcher Ruffer in favor of Landon Griesinger.
Garrett Swank then drove in Eitniear with a base hit. Drew Smigelski was next and walked, followed by both O’Shea and Kaden Curtis being hit by pitches to force in runs, bumping the margin to 8-4.
The even bigger blow came when Gossett smacked a triple to left center field for three more runs and an 11-4 Bulldog lead.
“It was a slow start for us,” said Swanton Coach Josh Siewert in talking about the game-changing third inning. “But they had a lot of walks. We just took advantage of the walks they had, and I believe that was the same inning our right fielder (Gossett) got the big triple with bases loaded. Just took advantage of their miscues.”
The frame finally came to a close when Griesinger drew a flyout off the bat of Adam Lemon.
Delta pushed two runs across in their half of the fourth to close the scoring. Waugh and Morr had the run-scoring singles.
From there, O’Shea was able to hold the Panthers in check, forcing them to strand runners in both the fifth and sixth innings. Drake Harris closed it out for Swanton in the seventh.
“Our first two guys (Smigelski and Lemon) just weren’t on cue and Ryan came in and kind of shut it down — threw strikes. That’s what we preach, just throw strikes. We still had a lot of walks that I just found out about. But he (O’Shea) did a good job coming in and kind of taking it under control,” said Siewert.
With the win, Swanton was able to match its win total from a season ago.
“It’s fabulous. The kids are so excited,” Siewert said. “Like I said, we had that nasty taste in our mouth (from last year). I heard ‘em down here before we came over here, they’re ecstatic. Just a turn in the program for us. I’m proud of the kids.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.