COLUMBUS GROVE – Baseball coaches love a shortened run-rule game.
That is, if they’re the coach of the winning team.
Columbus Grove made short work of Allen East in Thursday’s Northwest Conference game at Columbus Grove.
The Bulldogs scored 11 runs on eight hits, while holding the Mustangs to just three hits, en route to an 11-0 victory in five innings.
Trey Roney went the distance on the mound for Columbus Grove (6-1, 1-0 NWC). The senior right-hander struck out two and walked two, while throwing 56 pitches.
Trey’s a senior. …You expect him to go out there and throw strikes and challenge hitters,” Columbus Grove coach Cory King said. “And that’s exactly what he did tonight. He threw strikes. He maybe walked one or two, but he did exactly what we asked him to do. He’s not a strikeout type of guy, so we have to play good defense behind him.”
Erik Neeley pitched the first 2 2/3 innings for Allen East (5-5, 0-2) before being lifted. Neeley was tabbed for 10 runs on seven hits. He struck out one and walked seven.
Casey Crow came in to pitch in the third for the Mustangs. Crow worked just 1/3 of an inning, before giving way to Derek Ketchum, who closed out the game.
Columbus Grove’s bats were busy, early on.
The Bulldogs scored three runs on four hits in the first inning. Blake Hoffman (2-for-4) and Josh Verhoff (1-for-3) each had doubles for the Bulldogs.
In the third, Columbus Grove erupted for seven runs on just three hits. The Bulldogs displayed patience at the plate as four batters reached first base on walks. The Mustangs didn’t help matters as they committed two errors in the inning.
“We knew they were a good team and we knew they would hit well,” Allen East coach Bill Yetman said. “But, if you don’t throw strikes, you give them bases and you don’t make plays, then you’re going to get waxed.”
Columbus Grove added the final run in the fourth. Hoffman, who got on with an infield single, stole second and third and then came home on an errant pick-off attempt at third base.
Columbus Grove was aggressive at the plate, with every batter in the lineup getting on base at least once in the game – either with a hit or a walk.
“That was great to see, especially in the first inning,” King said. “We had a couple different guys that were maybe struggling a little bit this season. So, that was nice to see those guys get some hits. The whole team contributed in some way. That’s what you want – everybody to contribute – and we did that tonight.”
King was especially pleased that he did not have to use his bullpen in Thursday’s game.
“Clearly, you have no idea of how many games you’re going to get in from here on out. So, you have to work everybody’s pitch count. It was great to get a league game in where he (Roney) has a limited amount of pitches. Now, he might be able to go again on Monday.”