ELIDA — Maybe the scoreboard didn’t tell the complete story of Elida’s 4-2 baseball win over Ottoville on Friday.
On a day when the Bulldogs were out-hit 9 to 5 and committed five errors, they still managed to come away with a win.
“You look at the scoreboard and they out-hit us and we had five errors and it might look like the right team didn’t win. But we did a lot of the little things that win games,” Elida coach Todd Grapner said.
The most obvious little thing was the fact that three of Elida’s four runs were scored on plays involving bunts. But they weren’t the only little things.
“We had a lot of guys do a great job bunting the ball, we had some good base running and timely hitting. When we made an error we had other guys step up and make a play. We threw a ton of strikes and didn’t have any walks or maybe one or two,” Grapner said.
“Sometimes you win ugly but we did a lot of little things really well. I’m proud of the kids for just sticking with it and getting some of that stuff done.
“We’ve preached it (bunting) all spring. We know we aren’t where we want to be hitting-wise and we have to do that kind of stuff and they got the job done today. It’s early, we haven’t been swinging it great and we just felt like, ‘Let’s try to manufacture something,’ he said.
Ottoville scored first in the top of the third inning when Trae Schlagbaum singled, moved to second on a throwing error and scored on another throwing error for a 1-0 lead.
Elida answered with two run in the bottom of the third inning. After Nick Niebel walked and Brayden Lybarger doubled to put runners on second and third, Hayes Burton’s squeeze bunt scored Niebel and Noah Bowman followed with a sacrifice bunt that scored Lybarger for a 2-1 lead for the Bulldogs.
Ottoville tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning when Trey Landwehr reached base on an error, Cooper Hanneman singled and Jack Langhals doubled.
Burton singled to score Lybarger for a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Bulldogs’ final run came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Brice Engle led off with a single, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by pinch-hitter Colin Mick.
Bowman pitched the first 5 2/3 innings for Elida and Burton, who has a win and two saves in Elida’s three game, pitched the final 1 1/3 innings.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Hayes. He’s a strike thrower. We thought he would come in and do his job and he did,” Grapner said.