SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — It began two pitches into the bottom of the first inning.
And it didn’t stop until Bath had pounded out 15 hits, scored 12 runs and walked away with a 12-2 win over Parkway in a Division III sectional championship game at Shawnee High School on Friday.
The Wildcats (15-12) haven’t always been a consistent hitting team this season, but they got hits from the top of the lineup to the bottom in their win over Parkway (16-11).
Leadoff hitter Caleb Norton went 4 for 4. Doug Sanders was 3 for 4 with a double and a triple and Eric Jordan had three hits. No. 9 hitter Jared Davis delivered two hits and drove in three runs and Cam Jenkins had two hits.
Bath will play Patrick Henry at 5 p.m. Friday in a district semifinal game at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Norton launched the second pitch he saw in the first inning over the center fielder’s head for a triple to get Bath’s offense started.
“We got the scouting report on him (Parkway starting pitcher Jordan Stephenson) and it said he would try to get ahead with the curve ball. He got behind and I was sitting dead-red fastball, and he threw me one,” Norton said. “I just squared it up and started running.
“It was nice to get a bunch of hits rolling together,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for it all season and we finally got one. It was a great feeling. Coach has been talking about a new season with the tournament starting and we’re hoping to get on a roll here.”
The Wildcats scored twice in the first inning. Parkway evened the game with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, but Bath regained the lead on an RBI single by Jordan in the third inning and never allowed the Panthers to get back into the game.
They added four runs, with the help of three walks and two Parkway errors, in the fifth inning, then got three more runs in the sixth to close out the game with a run-rule win.
“We haven’t put that many hits on the board in a game in a while but we’ve had a lot of close games. We came out and were able to execute offensively and really were able to control all three phases of the game tonight,” Bath coach Brian Jesko said. “We’ll take an effort like that every day.
“Our pitchers have thrown the ball well all year and our defense has played great behind them,” he said.
Colin Gossard got the win for Bath. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed six hits in five innings on the mound. Three of the hits came in the second inning when Parkway got its runs.
“Early in the game he was getting behind guys, they were hitting him when they were ahead in the count. Once he got ahead of guys he was throwing a lot better and was a lot tougher to hit,” Jesko said.
An injury forced Bath catcher Cody Schuerman to leave the game in the second inning, but his replacement, sophomore Cam Jenkins, went 2 for 4 and scored twice.
“Cody has caught every game for us this year essentially. Cam came in and did an excellent job. He had a big hit in his first at-bat and was solid behind the plate. I’m proud of his effort,” Jesko said.
Bath became the fifth Western Buckeye League team to advance to a district tournament this season.
“Our league has been competitive for years. We play those tight games throughout the year. We put the MAC teams on our schedule, too. All that prepares us for the tournament,” Jesko said.