After giving away a two run lead in the third inning, Tim McCarthy’s Swanton Bulldogs made the most of an opportunity in their half of the stanza, scoring a pair of runs without a hit to regain the lead and go on to knock off Delta Thursday, 5-3.
“After losing a few guys from last year we kind of have had to revert back to playing a little bit more small ball and the guys are buying in,” said McCarthy. “One through nine, it doesn’t matter if you are Michael Lawniczak or Tommy Chonko we are going to bunt and try to move runners and put pressure on the defense.”
Swanton took advantage of a Delta mistake immediately in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead off starter Kaiden Kurth.
Hunter Mix opened the game with a single before Kurth got the next two hitters on a strikeout and force play.
But an error on Roman Epley’s grounder kept the inning going and Derek Floyd and Devon Crouse made the Panthers pay with two-out run scoring singles.
Epley made it through the first two innings against the Panthers, but Delta took the lead in the third thanks to some gift giving by the Bulldogs.
Gabe Freeman walked and then went to third on Cole Mattin’s infield hit with an accompanying error.
Jason Beverly’s fly ball to center was dropped for a two-base error that also brought in a run to cut the Bulldogs lead in half at 2-1.
Robby Arrendondo followed with a base hit to left that turned into a bad-hop triple that scored two more to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
Austin Luce relieved Epley and got a strikeout and ground out to avoid further damage.
However, the Panthers gave Swanton a chance to get the lead back and the Bulldogs took full advantage.
Lawniczak and Epley were hit by pitches to start the inning and Floyd sacrificed them to second and third.
Crouse’s grounder to first tied the game and an error on Zach Bloom’s grounder which would’ve ended the inning, gave Swanton a 4-3 lead.
“I think both teams were a little bit off defensively today,” McCarthy explained. “The balls in the air, we’ve got to catch, that’s the bottom line.”
Meanwhile after getting out of the third, Luce working the fourth and fifth, and then Bloom the sixth and seventh, allowed the Panthers just one hit and a couple of walks.
“For another game, all three of those guys on the mound today, Roman, Austin and Zack, those guys have done a really good job throwing strikes,” McCarthy explained of his team’s pitching.
“If we can field behind them, we could be really good.”
The Bulldogs tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on Bloom’s base hit, Wyatt Lake’s sacrifice and Mix’s third single of the day.
In all the Bulldogs had eight hits, including two from Floyd, to add to Mix’s performance at the plate. Delta had only four hits, two by Beverly.
Swanton then fell on the road to Northview 7-2 Friday.
After traveling to Wauseon Monday, the Bulldogs are at Bowsher Tuesday, Liberty Center Thursday and Rossford on Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com