OTTAWA — So far this young season, Lima Legion Post 96 has struggled in its attempt to advance base runners.
However, in its opening game of the TAWA Classic Legion baseball tournament at the Ottawa-Glandorf Sports Complex on Friday against Strongsville, Post 96 pounded 15 base hits en route to a 10-4 victory.
Six players on the Post 96 squad had at least two hits against Strongsville. Eric Heffner (Bath) and Dalton Martz (Elida) each had three hits, while Colin Stolly (Lima Central Catholic), Corey Smith (Perry), Tyler Anderson (Shawnee) and Zach Kimmett (Delphos Jefferson) all recorded two hits apiece.
Today — the second day of the tournament — Post 96 (3-7) will play a doubleheader at the O-G Sports Complex, starting at 10 a.m. In the first game, Post 96 will take on Ashley. In the second and final game of Pool Play, Post 96 will play Richmond (Ind.), following its first game. Pool Play will decide which teams will play Sunday — the final day of the tournament.
“We’ve been waiting for these timely hits for the past week,” Post 96 coach Doug Waddle said. “We’ve had guys on base all week, but we haven’t come up with that timely hit. We finally did tonight. We got 10 runs on 15 hits. …You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Post 96 also received a solid pitching performance from starting pitcher Braden Goodwin (Allen East). The junior right-hander worked six innings before being relieved in the final inning.
Goodwin gave up four runs on seven hits, while striking out three, walking one and hitting a batter. He threw a total of 95 pitches.
Tanner Koverman (Spencerville) worked the final inning for Lima. In the final frame, Koverman gave up a hit, but was able to work out of the jam to secure the win.
“Braden throws strikes,” Waddle said. “He has a fastball that he gets ahead on. We had him at about 95 pitches and it was time to get him out. But he was pounding the zone and didn’t walk very many guys. We sort of needed him to help stop the bleeding tonight. He had kind of a rough time out last time, but he came back tonight and really threw strikes. He made the guys hit and we played defense behind him.”
Post 96 got to Strongsville starting pitcher Warren Spragg early. Spragg worked just 2 2/3 innings before being lifted. Spragg was tabbed for seven runs on 10 hits. He struck out one and walked three in his brief appearance.
Daniel Kasian came in to pitch for Strongsville (5-5-1) in the third. Kasian lasted 3 1/3 innings. Nick Stewart worked the final inning for Strongsville.
Strongsville pounded eight hits against Post 96. Andy Wagner, Jacob Solomon and Ryan Frank each had two hits.
After two innings, the game was tied at 2. Kimmett had an RBI single in the second for Lima.
In the home half of the third, Post 96 erupted for five runs on seven hits. Martz, Anderson and Goodwin had RBIs, while Hefner had a two-out single that plated two.
Strongsville added two runs in the top of the fifth, cutting the deficit to 7-4. Jacob Solomon had the big hit, a double to left that scored a run.
Post 96 scored two runs in the fifth, off a single by Stolly, pushing its lead out to 9-4. Lima added an insurance run in the sixth, on a double by Anderson that drove in Martz. Martz led off the sixth with a double to right.
“We didn’t do a very good job of working ahead of hitters,” Strongsville coach Neal Packanik said. “That led to some good at-bats with some bad counts and their hitters took advantage of it. Then it kind of snowballed from there.”