WAPAKONETA – Baseball is a game of doing the little things. The more of them you do, the better the result.
Wapakoneta did the little things well and the result was a 3-2 win over visiting Bath in a Western Buckeye League baseball game Monday at Wapakoneta.
The Redskins were nursing 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, when third baseman Marshall Gerlach led off the inning with a single. Alex Koch laid down a sacrifice bunt which allowed Gerlach to move to second. Johnny Crawford moved him to third with a fly ball to right field.
Josh Apple then singled in Gerlach to make the score 3-1 and that was good enough for the win despite the Wildcats scoring a single run in the sixth to get to within 3-2.
“Getting the lead-off batter on base is a key in any inning and we’ve had trouble doing that,” Wapakoneta coach Jason Brandt said. “Once we got him on, we bunted, then a fly to right and finally the big single.”
The two starting pitchers, Chase Culver for the Redskins and Colin Gossard for the Wildcats, were both excellent as they mixed fastballs with sharp breaking balls to keep opposing hitters off balance.
Culver was clocked in the high 70s to low 80s, while Gossard hit as high as 85 mph on the radar gun. Throw in big breaking balls by both pitchers and it was destined to be a close game.
Wapakoneta broke into the lead when they plated two runs in the second inning on base hits off the bats of A. J. Etzkorn and Gerlach. Koch then doubled and drove in both runs to stake the Redskins to a quick 2-0 lead.
Bath responded with a single run in the fourth when first baseman Eric Jordan worked a lead-off walk, Gossard followed with a solid single, and third baseman Seth Collins drove in Jordan with a sacrifice fly to get the Wildcats back to within 2-1.
That “small ball” run by Wapakoneta in the fifth was huge when Bath scored again in the sixth on an RBI single by second baseman Cam Jenkins.
Jenkins replaced Bronson Best after Best was hit in the head by a pitch in the fourth inning and was removed from the game and taken to the hospital for precautionary measures.
“That was two good teams battling in a classic WBL game, in which both pitchers threw well,” Bath coach Brian Jesko said. “We didn’t make anything happen from our limited opportunities. It boils down to we need to manufacture runs with Culver throwing a great game. Gossard threw well for us and we’ve been in close games and just need to get that one timely hit.”
Shortstop Doug Sanders and Gossard both has two hits for the Wildcats (10-7, 3-2 WBL). Collins and Jenkins recorded RBIs for Bath.
Gerlach had two hits to lead the Redskins (10-5, 3-2 WBL). while Koch led Wapakoneta with two RBIs.
“We had great pitching from Chase who didn’t have his best stuff,” Brandt said. “We have eight games coming up and need to get ready for the tournament.”