Tim McCarthy’s Swanton Bulldogs took advantage of 10 walks and five Evergreen errors, using a number of those in a five-run sixth inning, to pull away for a 12-5 Northwest Ohio Athletic League baseball win over the Vikings Wednesday in the elements.
“This is probably one of the nicer conditions we played in,” joked McCarthy about the 42 degree, windy, drizzly weather.
“With everything with the cold and wind and all, we wanted to get it in and I’m sure (Evergreen) Coach (Brian) Nagy wanted to get it in looking at the forecast. We were very fortunate to get that one in.”
The Vikings strung hits from Mason Henricks, Bryce Hudik and Jack Krispin to plate an opening run off Swanton starter Austin Luce.
However, Luce avoided further damage with a strikeout, pop up and then when Dave Moore singled to short right field, Wyatt Lake’s throw barely beat Hudik trying to score for the third out.
“Wyatt really made an accurate throw there to get the guy out,” said McCarthy. “It’s the first time he’s really been tested.”
Swanton then responded with a three spot in their half of the inning to take the lead.
Roman Epley led off with a base hit before Xavier Williams and Mike Lawniczak followed with bunt hits off Moore to load the bases.
A ground ball scored one run, then a dropped ball on Hunter Mix’s line drive scored another and a wild pitch by Moore marked the third.
The Vikes knotted the game at three in the top of the fourth.
Moore picked up his second hit of the day, Sam Lubinski was hit in the head by a Luce delivery, before Henricks’ two-out single knocked home one run and a passed ball by Lawniczak allowed the tying run to cross.
However, Swanton reclaimed the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four times on just two hits.
Epley reached on a misplay, Williams singled and a walk loaded the bases.
A force play at the plate cut down one run but an error on Mix’s ground ball allowed the go-ahead run to come across.
Luce’s two out, two strike single knocked home a pair of insurance runs and another came across on another Viking error on Lake’s grounder to make it 7-3, finishing the day for Moore on the mound.
Evergreen cut the Bulldog lead in half, getting a run in the fifth on Josh Dowling’s hit, a walk and an RBI single from Bryce Eisel. They got another in the sixth on singles from Collin Loeffler, Hudik and a ground ball that was booted for an error.
However, Swanton put the game away with five in the bottom of the sixth on just three hits when the Vikings were forced to play the pitch count rule game to conserve arms for a possible five games in four days.
Tommy Chonko’s base hit off Henricks started the rally and two walks loaded the bases.
Lubinski came to the mound and gave up a run-scoring single by Epley, a bases loaded walk and a fly ball that plated another run before Zach Bloom slapped a single to right to plate the final two Bulldogs runs.
“We’ve been having a hard time taking advantage of chances lately,” explained McCarthy. “That’s what cost us (in a 6-5 loss) at Wauseon, not taking advantage of opportunity. We did a nice job of getting bunts down and finding ways to score runs today.”
Epley led the Bulldog offense with three hits, while Williams added two more.
Henricks, Hudik, Krispin and Moore each had two singles for the Vikings.
Luce worked the first 4 and 2/3 innings to pick up the win, giving up four runs and nine hits.
Moore took the loss, working 3 and 2/3 innings. The Viking lefty allowed seven runs while walking four and striking out four.
Swanton then fell 2-1 in a game at Bryan Thursday, but responded with a 4-2 win over St. John’s in non-league play Saturday. After hosting Archbold Monday in NWOAL action, the Bulldogs travel to Maumee Tuesday and host Patrick Henry Thursday.
Evergreen splits with Holgate
What started out as a good day in the opener, turned sour with a seventh inning collapse in the nightcap as Evergreen split a home doubleheader against Holgate Saturday with an 11-3 win before dropping a 13-12 decision in the second game.
In the opener, the Vikings jumped all over the Tigers early.
Mason Henricks’ game opening single was followed by a two-out RBI single by Dowling and a run-scoring double by Dave Moore to take a 2-0 first inning lead.
The Vikings added four more in the second. Two walks and an error loaded the bases with no one out.
Jack Krispin and Dowling then were plunked by pitches to force in two runs to double the Viking lead.
After a strikeout and a force play at the plate, Bryce Eisel came through with another big two-out hit, a single that brought home two more runs to make it 6-0.
Evergreen tacked on a pair in the third on Bryce Hudik’s run-scoring single and Dowling’s sacrifice fly.
The Vikings scored in every inning in game one, getting single runs the next three frames.
Collin Loeffler’s double in the gap was followed by Henricks’ third hit of the game to mark a run in the fourth.
After a Dowling single in the fifth, the senior right-hander came around to score when Adam Baumgartner reached on an infield hit and the throw to third to try to cut down Dowling got away.
The last Viking run came when Sam Lubinski singled, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and continued home when the throw from behind the plate went into left field.
Meanwhile, Dowling scattered six hits on the mound, walked just two while striking out five.
Holgate scored a pair in the fifth on four Evergreen errors and another in the seventh courtesy of two more.
The Vikings in all committed a whopping seven errors in the game.
That more than sketchy defense combined with a collapse in control on the mound in the seventh in the nightcap.
Again the Vikings jumped out early using Dowling’s sacrifice fly and Zach Lumbrezer’s shot in the middle to score three first inning runs.
Evergreen scored another in the second on Krispin’s fielder’s choice grounder and hung a five spot on the Tigers in the third.
David Carroll’s run-scoring double into right center knocked home one and Tom Pollard put two more across with a double in the same spot.
Hudik’s sac fly and Dowling’s base hit marked a pair more to counter a Tiger unearned run in the top of the third to make it 9-1.
The Tigers hung in the game as Evergreen continued to play give away defensively, scoring an unearned run in the fourth and two more on two Viking errors in the fifth.
The Vikings got the lead back to 11-4 in the fifth when Henricks and Hudik executed what turned out to be a double steal, and Baumgartner’s RBI single.
Henricks, working in relief of Hudik who left in the fourth when he reached one of the pitch count minimums, got through the sixth but ran into huge trouble in the seventh.
An infield single from Jordan Nagel and a hit to right center by Gavyn Kupersmith was followed by an error to bring in a run.
Blake Hattemer’s single loaded the bases before the mess turned into a meltdown.
A fielder’s choice got one out but three straight walks, two by Henricks and another by Lubinski who came to the mound in relief, closed the gap to 11-10, then two hit batters put across the tying and go-ahead runs.
Kupersmith then hit a bouncing ball that found its way into right field down the first base line for two insurance runs.
In the wild second game, Lubinski ended up with the loss on the mound while Sebastian Briseno picked up the win.
After hosting Delta Monday, Evergreen plays Wednesday at Ottawa Hills before hosting Liberty Center Thursday in an NWOAL contest.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org