Liberty Center delivered the final blow in a back and forth affair Thursday in Northwest Ohio Athletic League baseball at Swanton’s Memorial Park, tallying a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to pull away for a 10-7 victory over the Bulldogs.
Swanton had tied it at 7-7 in the bottom half of the fourth inning.
Devon Crouse led off the frame with a base on balls, then Trent Weigel’s blooper over the third baseman’s head put runners on first and second.
A Blake Szalapski base hit loaded the bases and Ryan O’Shea’s single scored Crouse; however, Weigel hesitated at second thinking the ball would be caught and in turn, was tagged out at third. A strikeout made for the second Bulldog out, but Drew Smigelski came through with an RBI single scoring Szalapski to knot the score at seven.
The Tigers’ Jake Spieth started off the fifth with a single and later got to second on a pickoff attempt that went awry. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third, where he then came home on Dylan Matthews’ sacrifice fly which gave LC back the lead, 8-7.
LC recorded two more hits in the inning but they were left stranded by Crouse, who had relieved Szalapski in the fourth.
Cam Krugh was hit by a pitch with one out in the sixth for the Tigers, and later with the bases loaded, he rode home on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly allowed another run to score for what ultimately became the final margin, 10-7.
Each squad got off to a good start with runs in their first at bats, but the Dogs tallied more for the early advantage.
Liberty Center led 2-0 midway through the first on RBI singles from Landon Amstutz and Colton Kruse. However, Swanton put up a five spot in their half as Tiger starter Krugh was a bit erratic early on.
Leadoff hitter Szalapski struck out but was able to reach first via a wild pitch. He was able to score thanks to two more wild pitches — the second bringing him home from third — plus an O’Shea single.
RBI hits by Smigelski and Weigel — Smigelski’s which scored two with help of an off-target throw by the Tiger outfield — and a fielder’s choice allowed four more Bulldog runs to give them a 5-2 lead after the first.
The Tigers scored three runs on three hits in the top of the second, the latter an RBI base hit by Spieth knotting the game at 5-5. They then grabbed a 7-5 lead on Ethan Tampurages’ one-out two-run single in the away half of the fourth.
Leading the Dogs at the plate was Smigelski who went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. O’Shea went 2 for 4 as well and had an RBI.
On Saturday, the Dogs hosted Ottawa Hills where they dropped a 15-0 decision in five innings to the Green Bears.
Swanton has a fairly full schedule this week. They host Wauseon Monday, are at Waite Wednesday, Archbold Thursday, and return home to face Montpelier on Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.