KALIDA – Kalida and Elida hooked up in a non-league baseball tilt at Holy Name Ballpark in Kalida Wednesday afternoon.
With the tournament draw right around the corner, both teams’ coaches were looking to get some different pitchers innings.
The visiting Bulldogs built up a 4-0 lead and held on for a 5-4 victory.
“We have been able to get a lot of runners on, so our hitting is good. Where we tend to fail is in getting the timely hit to knock those guys in,” Elida head coach Tod Grapner said. “We have struggled leaving too many guys on base and not getting that timely hit; we left eight on today. We had a couple of big hits today. Brayden (Lybarger) got a 2-run hit that scored our third and fourth runs that gave us a nice lead. We just need to figure out how to come through more and more in the clutch.”
Kalida head coach Joe Recker felt his team made too many mistakes against such a good team.
“We made too many mistakes today, more than they did. We had a couple of base-running mistakes; I should have been more aggressive and done things like bunt more,” Recker said. “You can’t afford to make mistakes against a quality team like Elida. They are too well-coached and don’t beat themselves. They have good pitching, great defense and they have great approaches at the plate. We lost to a very good team today. We were right there with them most of the way.”
Elida (15-5) went up 1-0 in the top of the second inning against Wildcat starter David Beck (4 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 5 walks, 1 strikeout, four runs, three earned on 79 pitches, 44 for strikes). Lybarger started it off with a liner to left. An out later, an error on Alex Ewing’s grounder put Lybarger at third, from where he scored on a 2-out infield single to short by Noah Adcock.
Elida made it 4-0 in the top of the fifth as Beck struggled with his control. Adcock walked and moved up on a stolen base and wild pitch. An out later, Luke Berger walked. When he tore off on a steal of second, that drew the throw from catcher Noah Vonderembse, allowing Adcock to steal home for a 2-0 edge. A wild pitch moved Berger to third. An out later, Matt Fish walked and stole second. Lybarger ripped a single to center to plate Berger and Fish for that 4-0 lead and ending Beck’s day on the mound, with lefty Luke Erhart (2/3 of an inning, 1 hit, one walk, 1 earned run, 15 pitches, 14 for strikes) taking over.
Kalida got those runs back in the home fifth against Elida lefty starter Hayes Burden (4-plus innings, 4 walks, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 73 pitches, 37 strikes). Matt Kehres walked to lead it off and Gabe Hovest singled to left to finish Burden and bring Jaden Hullinger (1 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 1 hit batter, 23 pitches, 15 for strikes) in to pitch. Vonderembse sacrificed both runners up and they both scored as Erhart lashed a single to center. In turn, he scored as Trevor Lambert doubled to left for a 4-3 scoreboard; the latter took third on an error on the play. However, he was cut down trying to score by second baseman Lybarger on Ethan Schmenk’s grounder.
Elida scored the eventual game-winning run in the top of the sixth. With one down, Drew Biglow bunted his way aboard and went to second on Erhart’s balk. After Adcock’s walk brought lefty Tyler Klausing (1 2/3 innings, 1 hit, 25 pitches, 15 for strikes) to the mound, Biglow scored on Jordan Davis’s single to left for a 5-3 lead. Klausing left two on base as he fanned the next two.
Kalida put two on base in the home sixth with one out as Klausing singled and Matt Kehres was hit by a pitch. However, Grapner summoned closer Adcock to the mound and he fanned the last two batters of the frame.
“That’s exactly what we expect out of Noah. In our 20 games, he has come on in relief in 13 of them; this was his fifth save,” Grapner said. “He throws three pitches for strikes: fastball, curve and slider. He comes in and throws strikes, exactly what we need. Hayes did a great job keeping us in the game; when we took him out, Kalida had a zero on the board. That was such an effort against a very good team. He is mostly a JV pitcher but we needed him to pitch today because we have some sore arms. He has two quality starts.”
Coach Recker was surprised Elida used Adcock in a non-league game.
“Adcock is obviously one of their better pitchers. He throws a lot harder than the first two pitchers they threw,” Recker said. “I didn’t think they wanted to use him today but when they had a chance to win the game, they went to him. I’d have done the same thing. We had some good pitching today as well. I really thought there’d be more runs scored today than there were.”
Kalida was not done in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Lambert got a bad-hop double to left that handcuffed third baseman T.J. Whipple. After Schmenk walked and Ryan Lucke pinch-ran, he was forced at second on Owen Recker’s grounder but an error on the play allowed Lambert to score and put Recker at second. However, Josh Recker was caught looking at strike three as Elida gained the win.