BATH TOWNSHIP — Sometimes it’s best to go with your gut feeling.
When Perry pitcher Corey Smith got around the 100-pitch count in the fifth inning, head coach Mark Hoersten left it up to Smith on how far he wanted to go.
Smith made it clear to his coach he wanted to stay in the game.
Smith finished the game and led the Commodores to a 4-2 win over Bath in non-conference baseball action.
Smith ended the game with 142 pitches. The junior right-hander struck out 10 and walked 12 batters. Smith also went 1-for-3 at the plate with a double and scored two runs.
“The kid plays all three sports, but he’s a baseball kid,” Hoersten said. “I maybe let him go a little longer than I should have, but he’s the kind of kid that throws all the time. He said, ‘I want it Coach.’ So I let him have it. He had the lead and he wanted to finish it.”
Despite finding himself behind on the count for most of the game, Smith said he knew he had to bear down and close the game out.
“It’s hard to throw when it’s cold outside, but we had to come out and get it done. My curveball was working really well, tonight. And my slider kicked in there in the end. But, it wasn’t all me. …We had to have the defense too,” Smith said.
Perry (2-0) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Lead-off hitter Ben Sanders got on first with an infield hit. Sanders moved to second on a wild pitch, got to third on a passed ball and eventually scored on an errant pick-off attempt at second base on Smith, who got on base with a walk. Smith eventually scored on a pick-off attempt on Seth Ewing at first. Ewing reached first with a walk.
Bath (1-2) got a run in both the second and third innings. Caleb Norton, who went 2-for-3, had an RBI-single in the second.
Perry tacked on its final two runs in the fourth. Smith led off with a double. Andrew Gipson followed with a walk. Seth Ewing followed Gipson with a single to right. Two batters later, Perry played small-ball, as R.J. King laid down a bunt that scored Smith. The next batter, Alan Ogle, was hit by Sullivan, which brought in the final run.
Taren Sullivan started on the mound for Bath. He went 3 1/3 innings before being lifted in the fourth. Sullivan struck out three, walked four and hit a batter. Seth Collins came in on relief and closed the game out. Collins struck out four and walked one.
Bath had plenty of opportunities.
The Wildcats left the bases loaded in both the first and sixth innings. For the game, Bath stranded a total of 11 baserunners.
“From our standpoint, we didn’t do anything that was deserving of us to win this baseball game,” Bath coach Brian Jesko said. “We never got anything going, offensively. We got guys on base, but just left them on.
“Their kid outpitched us. They outhit us. They outplayed us. It was a situation where our guys didn’t execute when we needed them to execute and it caused us a baseball game.”