KALIDA – Ottoville’s Josh Thorbahn pitched a great game against Kalida. Unfortunately for the Big Green, Wildcat hurler Ryan Lucke was even better as he hurled a complete game, one-hit shutout to propel Kalida to a 1-0 victory in a Putnam County League contest Tuesday.
Kalida improves to 2-0 in the PCL and 3-2 for the season and Ottoville slips to 1-1 in league place and 3-2 for the year.
Lucke was on top of his game against Ottoville with excellent command of his pitches and keeping the Big Green off balance for seven innings. The Wildcat righty, who did not allow a ball into the outfield in the first three innings and only three all game, struck out seven and walked one.
Lucke never faced more than four batters in an inning and had four frames where he set the Big Green down in order.
“Lucke works his butt off all off season and early this season and it is so exciting to see him have success,” Kalida head coach Chad Ehrnsberger said. “He came out here tonight and he put this team on his shoulders. He basically said to Ottoville ‘look I am going to throw strikes and it is me against you’ and it worked for him tonight. It was awesome to see.
“Lucke can throw all of his three pitches for strikes and when you can do that, especially at the high school level, you are going to have success. He had all three pitches tonight. Ottoville is a good team and he had them off balance all game and was really never in danger which is saying a lot against a team like Ottoville.”
Ottoville head coach Ty Wannemacher said Lucke is one of the best pitchers they have faced with his command.
“He is probably one of the better pitchers we saw going inside and outside as far as strikes go,” Wannemacher. “He nailed that bottom strike zone. He was consistent down there and kudos to his catcher too because if his catcher doesn’t frame like he does he doesn’t get those calls. Those guys were very consistent tonight and he did a good job of mixing it up speed-wise with his curve ball and fast ball and he got our guys to chase some pitches we normally wouldn’t chase and that goes back to his accuracy. He can pinpoint it when he needed to and he can make us chase when he needed to.”
Thorbahn provided the lone hit for Ottoville with a double in the fourth inning.
Even though Thorbahn took the loss, he fired a two-hit complete game and on most nights would have come up with the win.
The Big Green southpaw’s only hiccup came in the third inning and it came after he opened the frame with a walk to No. 8 hitter Ryan Klausing who was erased from the base paths when Jaden Smith hit into a fielder’s choice to take over at first.
Smith moved to second on a wild pitch and then Brad Miller drew a walk. Thorbahn fanned the next batter but Luke Erhart came up with a clutch single to right field to bring home Smith that turned out to be the lone run of the game.
Thorbahn, who after gave up the single set down the next 10 batters and finished the night with six strike outs.
“Thorbahn is one of the best pitchers in the league and you have scratch and claw for every run you are going to get and Luke Erhart came through with that huge hit for the RBI,” Ehrnsberger said. “Fortunately the way Lucke pitched that was all we needed.”
Erhart had both of Kalida’s hits.
Wannemacher said it was tough to get a loss in such a tight game and in the team’s two defeats it has been mental miscues that have led to the losses.
“Lately the last two games, Elida and this game, the errors we have had, mental more than physical, have killed us and it showed again,” Wannamacher said. “I am more than pleased with Josh’s performance. He was a step better than he was last week and he is not quite 100 percent yet as far as being ready from basketball so that is a good thing too.”