Kalida continues strong start

KALIDA — Kalida has started the 2023 season in dominating fashion.

After posting a 10-0 victory in its season opener over Delphos Jefferson on Monday, the Wildcats followed it up with a 10-0 blanking of Ottoville in a Putnam County League clash Tuesday.

With the win Kalida improves 2-0 and 1-0 in PCL play. Ottoville slips to 0-2 for the year and 0-1 in league play.

“We have big goals for ourselves and you can’t be too satisfied at 2-0 and that was our expectation but at the same time you have to play,” Kalida head coach Chad Ehrnsberger said. “Jefferson is going to win some games and Ottoville is going to win a lot of games so we did it against good teams and that is exciting.

“Another thing I stress is not to be complacent and not accept being just good enough. We want to win every game and quite frankly that is our goal. It is nice to see the guys come out and do the job. It is one thing to want to do things and do something like that but it is another to execute and it is really good to see as a coach.”

Wildcat hurler Carson Klausing gave Kalida another solid outing as he scattered three hits in five innings of work as he fanned six and walked one. Klausing, getting ahead of the Big Green bats, most of the night yielded a single to open the game and then proceeded to sit down the next nine. In the fourth, he gave up a lead off single but then whiffed the side to close out the frame.

“That is the best I have seen Carson pitch in three years and it is the first outing of the year and that is a good sign,” Ehrnsberger said. “When he comes out and throws strikes he’s got the stuff to be dominant and I think he saw that tonight.

“He was throwing his fastball first strike, his curveball first strike and he was throwing slider first strike. At the high school level if you are throwing those three pitches for strikes you are going to have success, and you are definitely going to have success when you have as good as stuff as Carson and you are throwing strikes.”

Ottoville got runners on first and second to open the fifth frame but Klausing worked his way out of the jam to record the win.

While Kalida banks on its arsenal of arms, Ottoville is searching for its pitching identity.

“The big thing for us is we are not sure who are No. 1 is,” Ottoville head coach Ty Wannemacher said. “Going into the season we thought it would be Jayden (Saxton) and he came in second but we are just unsure still. We don’t know what our identity is and that is the big thing.”

Wannemacher added that his pitchers struggled with first pitch strikes.

“That is something we preach to our pitchers ” the Big Green skipper said. “If you that you own that batter and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight and the strike percentage was not very good at all.”

Ottoville’s Keaton Schnipke suffered the loss as he battled control issues that led to a nine-inning second inning. In stanza, the Big Green gave up four walks and six hits. Reliever Jayden Saxton came in a limited the Wildcats to one run in the final two innings and two-third innings.

Delivering one of the big hits for Ottoville in that second came off the bat of E.J. Miller who drove in two RBI with a double. Earlier in the inning he drove in a run with a single and finished the night 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and a run scored.

Kalida’s Bubba Smith went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI and Colin Hoffman drove in two runs and scored twice.

“I was really proud of the guys,” Ehrnsberger said. “We just talked about that. I preach not seeing the ball deep and using the right side of the field and the guys did it. Hopefully they see the success they had and they continue to buy into that philosophy throughout the season.”

Despite opening the year with back-to-back losses, Wannemacher remains optimistic his team has the talent to turn things around.

“We have a good ball club,” Wannamacher said. “It is a bad because you have a league game the second game of the season against Kalida, and they are a good ball club, but I think we can compete with them. It is that we have to find our identity on the mound.”

Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.