COLUMBUS GROVE — After being shutout 9-0 Monday night by Paulding, the Bulldogs responded with a big offensive showing against Pandora-Gilboa to down the Rockets, 16-6, in a Putnam County League contest Tuesday night.
Columbus Grove improves to 4-3 on the season and 1-2 in league play. Pandora-Gilboa remains winless at 0-5 on the season and 0-2 in league play.
“We have been looking to get those bats going,” Bulldog skipper Eric Naughton said. “The last two games have been tough on our bats but we had 10 hits today and that is what we wanted.”
The bottom of the Columbus Grove lineup has been struggling at the plate but came through with timely hits against the Rockets.
“You can’t ask for more having the guys down in those holes keeping it going so I want to keep these bats going. We have Miller City tomorrow. The weather is still cold but they got hot today.”
It did not take long for Columbus Grove to score after the Bulldogs put up five runs in the first inning to get their offensive machine rolling. For the game, Columbus Grove pounded out 10 hits.
But it wasn’t so much as the Bulldogs hitting as it was them taking advantage of base on balls and Rocket errors to notch those early runs. Columbus Grove drew three walks, had a hit batsman and two singles. Three more runs were tacked on in the second inning and seven more in the fourth, followed by one in the sixth to end the game due to the run rule.
Offensively, all nine Bulldog starters reached base and scored runs. Alex Schneider went 3 for 3 with a three runs scored, three RBI and a stolen base. Tayt Birnesser, who drew two walks, was 1 for 2 with two runs and one RBI.
Bulldog Nick Woods had a big double in the game and perhaps the most interesting line score was Brady Haunstein who was hit three times and added a single and scored three times.
Pandora-Gilboa head coach Greg Liedke said his team is still tweaking things as they integrate some of the basketball players into the lineup.
“We have had our starting pitcher for two weeks now so we are trying to get him in bullpen sessions but it has been tough but we have to just work through it and we will be tweaking some things and making the adjustments we need to make.”
Rockets starting pitcher Ryan Lee is one of those hoopsters still making the transition from the hardwood to the diamond. This was only Lee’s second time on the mound this season and he struggled with control by giving up five base on balls and five hits in his two innings of work.
Columbus Grove pitcher Kurt Griffith put in a solid outing of six innings of work. The young righty surrendered five runs on five hits while striking out two and walking two. It was those two walks that helped the Rockets score five in the second when Pandora-Gilboa got some clutch hits from Zeb George and Lee.
“Kurt was around the strike zone,” Naughton said. “He got beat up in that second inning when we made a few mistakes behind him. He left a few balls up but after that settled in and took control of the game for us.”
The Rockets, facing the run rule, rallied for a run in the fifth on a clutch single from Brennen Morman.
“It was encouraging they didn’t hang their heads and quit,” Liedke said. “That was one thing we talked about in the dugout that if we are going to go down we are going to go down with a fight.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.
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