ELIDA — The margin for error was zero.
Bath trailed by a run, but had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the seventh.
Elida coach Todd Grapner walked to the mound and handed the ball to reliever Travis Watkins.
Watkins needed only four pitches to strike out Chase Clark to end the game and give Elida a 5-4 baseball victory over Bath on Thursday at Ed Sandy Field.
Watkins threw all fastballs.
“I knew I had to throw strikes,” the senior Watkins said. “This is what we practice all year for, facing your rival Bath, coming in with the bases loaded and two outs to win the game.”
Watkins’ first pitch was a ball, followed by three straight strikes to notch his first save.
“Ball one was in the dirt, and he (coach Grapner) told me no curveballs so I knew what I was throwing,” Watkins said. “After that first pitch, Logan (catcher, Alexander) came out to slow me down a little bit. I pumped in that last strike.”
Grapner said, “That’s what he (Watkins) does. He’s a strike thrower and a competitor. In that situation, you want someone who’s not going to back down.”
Elida is 5-5, 1-2 in the Western Buckeye League. Bath is 3-5, 0-3 in the WBL.
“To get a win against Bath is special,” Elida right fielder Austin Morrison said.
Elida scored one run in the second, third and fourth innings and led 3-0 after five innings.
Bath rallied for four runs in the sixth to grab a 4-3 lead.
Bath’s Jared Davis had a two-run single to get the Wildcats within 3-2 off Elida starter Josh Bull, who threw 105 pitches over six innings.
Bath pinch-hitter Dylan Burkholder followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 3. Pinch-hitter Tyler Stahr’s RBI single gave Bath the lead 4-3.
“We had some big hits there,” Bath coach Brian Jesko said. “We had good contributions from the guys who came off the bench. We couldn’t get the timely hit to extend the game. …. They won those situational battles when they needed to.”
In the home sixth, Bull walked and Jared Blymyer was hit by a Logan Magrum pitch.
Exit starter Magrum and on came Andrew Renner for Bath.
Elida’s Garrett Brinkman bunted the runners over to second and third. Morrison took a 0-1 fastball from Renner and pounded a two-run double down the left-field line. That gave Elida the lead to stay, 5-4.
Leadoff hitter Morrison went 2 for 4 with two RBI.
“I was looking for a fastball inside and I drove it right down the third-base line,” Morrison said. “Thankfully, I was able to get the two runners in.”
Added Grapner, “He (Morrison) did a great job there in a pressure situation.”