OTTAWA – The familiar ping of the bat and the smacking of ball on gloves returned Friday to the area at the Ohio Veterans 4 County Memorial All-Star Games.
The two-day event began with a doubleheader Friday that had the first game featuring a BVC Red team, comprised of players from Cory-Rawson, Liberty-Benton and Riverdale face off against a BVC Blue team, made up of players from McComb, Arcadia, Van Buren and Leipsic to open action. In the night cap it was the Grey All-Stars featuring players from Lima Senior, Ottawa-Glandorf, Perry, Elida, Delphos St. John’s and Findlay took on hardballers from Shawnee, Celina, Bath, Kenton Van Wert and St. Marys on the White squad.
The action continues at 5 p.m. today with the Putnam County League All-Stars facing off followed by a game between the Northwest Conference All-Stars.
“Oh wow this mean’s a lot,” said Lima Senior’s Caleb Dugan, “We haven’t played baseball in so long. I like to be back on the field and do what I love.”
Dugan, who was looking forward to a big senior season after a productive junior year that saw him receive several Three Rivers Athletic Conference accolades, said it sucks not to have a full season but he was happy to be on the diamond.
“My senior year I wanted to cap every thing off,” Dugan said. “This would have been my fourth year to get first team (all-Three Rivers Athletic Conference) and maybe something better.”
True to his competitive nature, Dugan said he was looking to snare a win in the exhibition contest to get his summer off to a winning start as he will be playing in a Toledo summer league that begins next week.
Perry’s Keaton Miller said win or lose he didn’t really care and was happy to be fielding grounders and taking swings in a competitive atmosphere.
“This is a good chance to go out and have fun,” Miller said. “It is all about having fun. Win or lose I just want to have fun.”
Abram Escamilla, organizer of the event and coach of the Grey squad, echoed Miller’s sentiment and added that he was glad he pulled it together and although there was things to shore up on the day of the event he felt everything turned out great.
“I just wanted to get stuff started then it was just baseball,” Escamilla said. “The kids are enjoying it and they were having fun and that is what it is all about. This is why we came here. I’m glad they are all enjoying it.”
Throughout the evening, the near capacity crowd was constantly reminded to practice social distancing and other safety measures to insure the safety of spectators and coaches.
“I’m pretty pleased the way the fans are responding to stuff,” Escamilla said. “it was nice to see the families out here. One kid had 15 family members cheering for him. We wanted these guys to have this type of opportunity.”
As for the action on the field, In the first game the Red team beat the Blue team 10-2.
As expected, the two teams had some times showed some of the rust of not playing since last year especially the Red team, which struggled with fielding and pitching control.
The Red team took advantage by scoring four in the first and two in the second to jump out to a 6-0 lead and would never trail.
The top of the lineup did most of the damage as Van Buren’s Caden Lance, the lead-off man, was 1-for-1 with a triple and three walks and four runs scored.
McComb’s Nate Bishop went 3 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored.
The Blue team was limited to two hits.
The second game saw the White Team defeat the Grey Team 7-5.