Defiance shuts out Van Wert in WBL baseball

VAN WERT — Defiance head coach Tom Held admitted his team has had trouble scoring runs early but that was not the case in the Bulldogs’ 11-0 win over Van Wert in a key Western Buckeye League clash Friday.

The Bulldogs broke out off the games by posting five runs in the first inning to stake a big lead early and with Aidan Kiessling on the mound, the Bulldogs rolled to the six-inning, run-rule victory.

With the win, Defiance improves to 4-1 in the WBL and 9-1 overall. Van Wert slips to 1-3 in league action and falls to 5-5 for the year.

“In the game of baseball usually the team that scores first your odds of winning are a lot better and we really haven’t done that all season,” Held said. “That is the best first inning we have all season long where we were able to jump out on somebody.

“It was nice to get some guys on base and run. That is what we do is run and we put a little pressure on them and the next thing you know we have five on the board and we then we have Aidan Kiessling with a lead it makes it tough on the opponent.”

Defiance recorded 10 stolen bases.

With a five-run advantage, Kiessling went to work on the mound and put in another tremendous outing as he scattered four hits while fanning seven, walking one and hitting a batter. The Bulldog set down the first 12 of 13 batters he faced. The Cougars got runners in scoring position just twice and none reached third base.

Kiessling, who ran into a little trouble in the sixth when Van Wert put runners on first and second with two outs, but the senior recorded a strike out to end the threat and the game. The final pitch registered 88 on the gun.

“Everything,” said Held about what Kiessling was doing right. “Him and (Taylor) Echols from Wapak squared off last week and went zip-zip and he is just good. There is not that many high school pitchers that can throw three pitches with quality stuff and get them across and Kiessling is one of them.”

Playing a major role in the win was the Bulldogs’ fundamental play defensively as Defiance had no fielding miscues.

“This field is hard and it dry and we are used to playing on soft turf so when we play on a natural circus it can be a circus out there. I think we got some good hops, some hops that came right to us and they had a couple of tough hops and we had a couple of easy hops and that gives you confidence and the lead always gives you confidence.”

Bad hops hampered the Cougars throughout the game. Van Wert had five errors.

“We didn’t make plays defensively and that snowballed on us,” Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said. “Obviously against a real good team like Defiance you cannot afford to do that. They took advantage of the errors we made and give them credit.”

At the plate Kiessling was just as effective, going 4 for 4 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. He was part of the first inning offensive outburst with a single and an RBI and then drove in two runs in the fourth with a single. David Jimenez went 2 for 4 with 2 runs and Frederick drove in two runs.

Van Wert’s Damon McCracken went 2 for 3.

“Truly I thought we had decent approaches at the plate,” Witten said. “We got the balls in play, not every ball, but a decent job of getting balls in play and I think we are a pretty good hitting team but give Aidan a lot of credit. If we were hitting the fastball, he change it up on us and throw the change-up and curve balls to keep us off balance.”

Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.