Panthers top Vikes, Wauseon in ACME sectional

Delta’s Austin Sayen touches home plate to put the Panthers ahead for good against Wauseon on Sunday in the ACME sectional at Napoleon. The Panthers trailed 6-0 before fighting back for the 8-6 win.

Wauseon’s Travis Smith delivers a pitch in the Indians’ game against Delta on Sunday. While the Indians fell to the Panthers in that contest, they had a chance to redeem themselves in the final of the consolation bracket on Monday. Results from that game can be found in Thursday’s edition of the Expositor.

Josh Whitcomb slides across the plate to make it 3-0 Indians in the bottom of the second inning.

Delta’s Ron Vargyas charges home in the top of the third inning to put his team on the scoreboard.

NAPOLEON – Delta took advantage of Evergreen’s wildness on the mound to parlay eight walks and three hit batters into a 10-2 win to advance to the winners bracket of the ACME sectinal tournament at Napoleon on Friday.

Viking starter Nick Etue got through the first two innings unscathed, allowing only a pair of hits but became his own worst enemy in the third.

A pair of walks to Owen Jagodzinski and Gabe Freeman, a fly ball, then a two-out wild pitch allowed the first Panther run.

Then in the fourth a walk to Aaron Abbott, another wild pitch, then Blake Gladieux’s single plated a second Panther tally.

Delta wasn’t done in the inning as another walk and a hit batter loaded the bases.

Jagodzinski attempted a suicide squeeze and bunted the ball hard in the air and Etue’s diving attempt to turn the play into an inning ending double play came just short, and when the throw to first got away, two more Panther runs scored.

Freeman marked a fourth on a single to left to make it 5-0.

Evergreen rallied in the bottom of the inning to chop the lead to 5-2.

Etue’s one-out single was followed by Levi Carson’s booming triple into the right-center field gap.

Dave Moore followed with a single up the middle to plate the second run. However, Delta picked up five more in the fifth to extend the lead.

Austin Sayen sliced a double down the right field line, Abbott bounced a single up the middle, and another hit batter loaded the bases.

A wild pitch scored one run, another hit batter and consecutive bases loaded walks, Tim Sonick’s single, along with a passed ball plated the last four to make it 10-2.

Panthers come back to defeat Wauseon

On Sunday morning in the second round of the Napoleon Sectional, Wauseon jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Delta after just two innings, then committed a huge momentum-shifting base running mistake and a late game catastrophic defensive failure that allowed the Panthers to beat the Indians, 8-6, dropping Wauseon into the loser’s bracket of the double elimination tournament.

Indian pitching actually held the Panther batters to just three singles for the contest but major control issues in the fifth inning coupled with a defensive meltdown in the sixth allowed Delta to score six runs on one hit, three walks, two hit batsmen and five errors to shock the Wauseon faithful and basically everyone else in attendance.

The Panthers sent Austin Sayen to the mound to face a potent Indian lineup that very quickly went into attack mode. JJ Kauffman singled with one out and stole second. Brady Kinnersley followed with a walk and together, they pulled off a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. After a pop up to second, Carter Bzovi doubled to left center for a 2-0 Wauseon lead.

Delta failed to score in the bottom of the first and Sayen began his second inning of work by walking three of the next four batters. When he plunked Kinnersley with a pitch to force in a run, Delta coach Bill Vaughn brought in Owen Jagodzinski to take over the pitching duties.

Brady greeted the new pitcher with a two-RBI double and, after a sacrifice fly, the Indians were on top 6-0 going into the bottom of the second.

Wauseon starting pitcher Travis Smith easily dispatched the Panthers in the bottom of the second and the teams headed to the top of the third and the crucial play that would turn everything around.

Jacob Raabe led off with a double while Brooke Gype followed with a single to center. When the throw came to the plate to keep Raabe from scoring, Gype headed to second. Panther catcher, Tim Sonick, then faked a throw down to second causing Raabe to break for the plate. Raabe was caught in a run down, tagged out and Gype was gunned down trying to go to third.

It was not evident at the time but the momentum immediately swung to the Delta dugout.

“We started out on fire but I tell you what, it goes back to the third inning, our first and third situation,” said Wauseon coach Doug Rupp, explaining the game’s pivotal moment. “We had nobody out and we did not read the catcher. That took the wind out of our sails and gave them momentum.”

In the bottom of the third a rejuvenated Delta squad began chipping away at the six run deficit. Ron Vargyas walked and Sonick singled to open the inning, and both advanced on a Jagodzinski sacrifice bunt.

Sayen grounded out to drive in the Panthers’ first run and Gabe Freeman singled to right to make the score 6-2 after three.

Kauffman led off the fourth with a single and coach Vaughn made another pitching switch, this time bringing in Owen Tedrick. Tedrick walked the first batter he faced but retired the next three without any damage. In fact, he set down nine straight hitters to keep Wauseon at bay while his teammates battled back.

In the bottom of the fifth Sonick walked and Jagodzinski was hit by a pitch, prompting coach Rupp to relieve Smith with Kauffman. A walk, an error and two passed balls scored two more Delta runs and the Panthers went into the bottom of the sixth down 6-4.

The Delta sixth inning saw a complete defensive collapse by the Wauseon infield as they committed four errors by four different players, allowing the Panthers to tie the score. Jason Beverly completed the comeback with a chopper over the head of the third baseman to drive in the go ahead run and give Delta an 8-6 lead and ultimately, the stunning victory.

“The turning point for us was the double play in the third inning. It really pumped us up,” explained Vaughn. “We kept telling the kids with the score 6-0, just get a run here and there and try to make it interesting at the end. And they bought into it.”

A masterful pitching performance by Tedrick gave him the win as he threw four innings of hitless relief. Sonick led the Delta offense with a hit, two walks and three runs scored.

Kauffman suffered the loss for Wauseon and but he also had two hits, two stolen bases and scored twice.

However, as fate would allow, the two teams met again Monday in the final of the loser’s bracket with a chance to take on Napoleon later that night in the winner’s bracket finale. Look for results from those games in the Thursday issue of the Expositor.