Swanton baseball got back in the win column in NWOAL play and in the process, handed Wauseon their first league blemish with a 3-0 shutout victory Thursday on the road.
Head coach Tim McCarthy thinks this could be a great building block for his Bulldogs.
“We’ve talked about trying to get it going because I know that the talent is here,” he said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit, but no time better than the present to get hot going into the tournament.”
“We didn’t field the ball well enough to win and we couldn’t string enough hits together to score runs,” said Wauseon coach Trent Thomas of the loss.
Already ahead 1-0 after an error plated Josh Adcock in the top of the first, the Bulldogs added onto their lead in the top of the fourth.
Marek Spiess led off with an infield single, then both Jonny Shanks and Hunter Mix drew one-out walks to load the bases. Swanton’s Roman Epley went down on strikes, but Spiess scored when the ball got away from the catcher to give them a 2-0 lead.
They would add to their lead in the fifth as well.
Jordon Nyler got it started with a base on balls. Oakes reached on a fielder’s choice which got Duyane Goings, who was running for Nyler, out at second base, and Michael Lawniczak pegged an infield single.
Coach McCarthy chose to have Spiess bunt and it worked in their favor, scoring Oakes from third which gave them a 3-0 advantage.
“Marek did a great job of getting it down,” said McCarthy of Spiess’ suicide squeeze. “He is one of the better bunters on our team so I had a lot of confidence in him to do it.”
The Bulldogs followed with good pitching from Nyler in the next half inning to keep the Indians off the scoreboard.
Wauseon’s Marcel Barajas reached on an error with one out, then pinch-runner Everett Bueter stole second. Nyler then got Brooks Gype to strike out, Franklin Peralta also reached on an error, but a ground out ended the inning with a pair of runners on base.
“Jordon did a great job of keeping them off balance,” said McCarthy. “We knew they were a pretty good hitting team coming in. And we knew that if we kept them off balance we would have a shot. He was extremely efficient, he didn’t walk anybody, and he only threw 80 pitches.”
The defense was the story for Swanton during Wauseon’s at bat in the sixth.
The Indians threatened with a pair of singles from JJ Kauffman and Carter Bzovi. However, the Bulldog outfield caught a flyout from Brady Rupp and a sharp liner hit by CJ Moser around a lineout to third off the bat of Brady Kinnersley to leave the runners stranded.
“We need to tighten up defensively but we did make the plays when we had to make them,” stated the Bulldog mentor.
Swanton left a pair of runners in scoring position in their half of the seventh, keeping the margin at three heading into the final at bat for the Indians.
The frame began on a positive for Wauseon, as Barajas made it to second by way of a throw to first that got by the first baseman and went into the opposing dugout. But it would end in Swanton’s favor when Gype lined out to center and the runner at second was doubled off.
Then, a foul out to first ended the game.
“That was a heads up play by Gunnar (Oakes) in knowing the situation,” said McCarthy of the play made by his centerfielder.
Bzovi, Wauseon’s starter on the mound, kept the Dogs in check for a lot of the time but allowed three runs on two hits while walking seven and striking out 11. Kinnersley pitched the final inning for the Indians.
Adcock and Lawniczak had the lone hits for Swanton, while Kauffman, Bzovi and Rupp were each 1 for 3 for Wauseon.
Despite not having any strikeouts, Nyler scattered three hits to get the win.
Dogs struggle at Archbold
Last Monday, Archbold and starting pitcher Lathon Babcock wiggled out of two bases loaded jams and responded in a big way offensively to defeat Swanton in NWOAL baseball action, 9-2, on the Blue Streaks’ home field.
“They stranded some guys early on and we were able to get out of those innings,” said Blue Streak mentor Dick Selgo. “And then we came in and scored runs on top of that. It was a morale booster for us and kind of a downer for them.”
The Bulldogs had three of their first four hitters reach in the top of the first inning, starting with Epley who reached on an error. After a strikeout, Nyler doubled to left field and Oakes reached on an error to load the bases for Swanton.
But, Babcock responded with a pair of strikeouts as he struck out the side and got out of the jam.
“We did a good job getting (on base), but then it seemed like we got a little too anxious and swung at some bad pitches,” said McCarthy after the game.
A lot of the Bulldog struggles were caused by Babcock, who mixed his pitches nicely and made it tough on their hitters. He struck out five batters and walked zero in four innings pitched.
“He was throwing a lot of offspeed stuff. He wasn’t necessarily throwing it for strikes, but we helped him,” said McCarthy. “We were waving at some pitches outside the strikezone. It wasn’t that we weren’t putting the ball in play, we just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it.”
Unlike Swanton, Archbold was able to dent the scoreboard in their half of the inning.
First, Toby Walker and Derek Walker each laid down quality bunts that went for singles to put runners on first and second. They came home two batters later when Ian Radabaugh doubled to left to make it 2-0.
The Bulldogs went down in order in the second and the Streaks were back at it in their half.
Brandon Miller drilled a one-out single to left and moved to second on a passed ball, then scored as a Swanton error allowed Nic Rodriguez to get to second. Another Bulldog miscue allowed Toby Walker to reach, scoring Rodriguez in the process and the Blue Streak lead was now 4-0.
After a Derek Walker single, Ben Bucklew’s sacrifice fly brought home Toby Walker to give the Streaks a 5-0 lead.
Swanton once again filled the bases in the top of the third, but Archbold did not give in.
Epley led off with a single to right-center field, then Shanks’ fielder’s choice got Epley out at second, and Nyler singled. The bases should have been loaded with one out for the Dogs after Oakes’ bloop single to center. However, Shanks was unsure if the ball would be caught, and was tagged out in between second and third.
“That play right there is not why we lost. It was one of those in between plays,” said McCarthy of the play.
Lawniczak singled for Swanton to load the bases, but Babcock got Dean Sego down on strikes to end the threat.
Archbold got an RBI-single from Bryce Williams in the bottom of the third. Furthermore, an error on contact off the bat of Rodriguez scored Williams to increase their lead to 7-0.
Noah Johnston replaced Nyler on the mound for Swanton in the fourth, drawing a pop up from Derek Walker to begin the frame.
However, Bucklew would reach second on a fielding error, and Radabaugh hammered a double to make it 8-0. Radabaugh led all hitters as he was 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
Seth Mayer also belted a double, plating Radabaugh to complete the scoring for the Streaks.
Swanton recorded doubles from Epley, Oakes and Lawniczak in the seventh, two of which brought in runs as they avoided the shutout.
“We are struggling right now, but I would rather struggle now than later,” said McCarthy. “I told the kids, it is a great time to get hot. We are about a week, two weeks away from the tournament, so that is what we are shooting for.”
Outside of Radabaugh, Miller (2 for 3), Derek Walker (2 for 4) and Mayer (1 for 4) also had RBIs. Oakes and Lawniczak were each 2 for 4 and knocked in Swanton’s only runs. Nyler had a pair of doubles.
Swanton then added a 5-4 home victory over Patrick Henry on Friday in league action, and a 3-2 win over Delta at Fifth Third Field in non-league competition on Saturday.
The Bulldogs will be competing in the Defiance District in Division III. They will open up by hosting the winner of Delta and Otsego on Thursday, May 12 at 5 p.m. for the sectional championship.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010