LIMA – No lead is ever big enough.
Just ask Lima Legion Post 96 baseball coach Doug Waddle.
In Wednesday’s game with Sidney Post 217 at Joe Bowers Field, Post 96 jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but found itself in a battle to the very end, as it slipped out with an 8-7 win.
Post 96 pounded 11 base hits and had five players with multiple-hit performances.
Tyler Anderson (Shawnee) led the way for Lima with three hits. Colin Stolly (Lima Central Catholic), Dalton Martz (Elida), Colin Gossard (Bath) and Adam Purdy (Elida) each had two hits for Post 96.
Post 96 (9-14) erupted for six runs on five hits in the home half of the second inning. All six runs came with two outs. Purdy and Stolly each had RBI doubles in the big second inning.
However, Sidney battled back in the top of the third, scoring three runs off a home run by Bailey Francis.
Sidney cut the deficit to 6-5 in the fifth, once again by way of the long ball. Dalton Bollinger belted a two-run shot over the left-field fence off Watkins.
In the seventh, Sidney tied the game at 6.
In the home half of the eighth, Post 96 regained the lead, scoring two runs on no hits. Brad Stolly (Lima Central Catholic) got hit by a pitch. Purdy followed with a walk. Then by way of a wild pitch and then a passed ball, Lima was able to advance both base runners around to score, making it 8-6.
Sidney added one more run in the top of the ninth.
“We came out swinging and gave ourselves a cushion and we needed every bit of it” Waddle said. “It was nice to see several guys get some hits when we had people on base. We haven’t done that for the past week and a half.”
Nick Watkins (Lima Central Catholic) started on the pitching mound for Post 96. Watkins worked six innings before being lifted. The right-handed Watkins was tabbed for five runs on six hits, while striking out two and walking two. Watkins threw a total of 71 pitches.
Tanner Koverman (Spencerville) came in to pitch in the seventh, Koverman worked just 1 2/3 innings, before giving way to Casey Mulcahy (Shawnee) in the eighth.
Mulcahy closed the game out, giving up one run on no hits. He struck out one, walked four and hit a batter.
“We’ve struggled all year, getting the big hit,” Anderson said. “Tonight, we came out and scored eight runs. We hit when we had to. We didn’t get a run for four innings, after we had the big 6-run inning. But, we did hit the ball well. So, we need to go on a run from here.”
Waddle wanted to stick with Watkins as long as possible.
“Nick was battling out there, but he was leaving stuff up and we talked a little bit about it,” Waddle said. “He battled and we got him into the fifth and started the sixth. …He kept us there.”