The Pacers dusted off their little ball attack.
Delaware Hayes erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth inning to seal a 9-2 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over Big Walnut in a makeup game played on Thursday, April 17, in Sunbury.
Coach Ryan Montgomery’s Pacers, who dropped a 2-1 decision to the Golden Eagles on Tuesday at Delaware, took advantage of three bunts to open the sixth inning. Colin Reed beat out a perfect bunt down the third base line. Adam Crosbie followed with a bunt which was mishandled and Connor Ulmer legged out his bunt for a single to load the bases.
With the bases jammed, Hayes (5-3, 2-3 OCC) went to work.
Jake South grounded into a fielder’s choice which scored Reed, beating the throw to first to lead the sacks jammed. Greg Suber dropped a single into right to plate Crosbie before Mike Sweeney bounce Matt Tarney at short who threw home to force Ulmer at the plate. With two out and the bases still loaded, Gaige Linville walked to plate South. Noble Moore reached on an error with Suber scoring and Colin Reed walked to plate Sweeney and the Pacers were up 9-2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
“We weren’t getting the job done in the early innings,” Montgomery said. “That’s when I decided to play little ball and put some pressure on the Big Walnut defense … I think we were pretty successful.”
The Pacers, who trailed the Golden Eagles 2-1 after four innings, went to work, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth to take 4-2 lead. Ulmer led with with a double and came around to score when Big Walnut catcher Kyle Duncan fielded South’s bunt and threw it into right field allowing Ulmer to score. After South was caught stealing, Suber and Sweeney followed with singles, advancing to second and third on a wild pitch with both eventually coming home on wild pitches.
After Hayes to a 1-0 lead in the first on leadoff singles by Ulmer and South and a Golden Eagle error, Big Walnut (5-4, 3-4 OCC) answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Brayden Shepherd led off with a single to deep short and Ryan Grieser drew a one-out walk, they executed a double steal to put runners at second and third. With two out, Mike Blackburn reached on an error with Shepherd scoring to tie the game at 1-1. After Nick Moser walked on four pitches, Tarney was hit by a pitch to plate Grieser.
Ulmer led Hayes at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and 2 runs scored. South collected 2 hits in 3 trips with a double, a run and a run batted in and hit by a pitch. Suber contributed 2 hits in 4 at bats with 2 runs, an RBI and was also hit by a pitch. Reed was 2-for-3 with a run, a walk and RBI and Josh Daughenbaugh was 2-for-4.
Left-hander Jackson Boger started for Hayes and worked the first 6 1/3 innings, giving up two second-inning runs, both unearned, when Big Walnut took a 2-1 lead. He allowed only 2 hits, both by Brayden Shepherd, a lead off single in the second and a one-out infield single in the third, walked five, hit one and struck out two.
“Jason gave us 6-plus innings of strong pitching,” Montgomery said.”He did a good job shutting Big Walnut down after they scored two runs in the second inning … he faced only 17 batters over the final five innings.”
Southpaw Braden Schmidt came on in relief in the seventh with one on and one out and ended the game on two fly ball outs.
Shepherd made the start for BW, working 4 2/3 innings and allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 8 hits, 1 base on balls, 2 hit batsmen and 3 strikeouts. Brandon Daniels, who came on with two out in the fifth, worked 1 inning giving up 5 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits and 2 walks to go with 1 strikeout. Grieser, who recorded the final out in the sixth, threw the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on 1 hit.
BIG WALNUT 4 WORTHINGTON KILBOURNE 3, 9 innings — The Golden Eagles broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning to edge past the visiting Wolves last Wednesday (April 16) in Sunbury.
Mike Blackburn started the rally with a single and Nick Moser was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second, setting the stage for Matt Tarney’s game-winning single. Jeremy Bok, who came in relief of starting pitcher Kyle Duncan in the ninth, picked up the mound win.
After Big Walnut had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Kilbourne came back to take a 3-1 lead with a three-run outburst in the top of the sixth. The Golden Eagles answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the seventh to send the game in to extra innings.
Big Walnut, led by Kyle Duncan, Tarney and Blackburn with 2 hits apiece, outhit Kilbourne 10-9 and played errorless ball in the field. Moser, who had 2 stolen bases, scored two of the Golden Eagles’ 4 runs.
In his 8 innings, Duncan allowed 3 runs, all earned, walking 4 hitting 1 and striking out 5. Bok gave up 0 runs on 2 hits in his inning of relief.