BASEBALL: Redskins 7-0 after first week
After an eight-day, eight-game marathon, the Wapakoneta Redskins are sitting pretty.
Wapak upped its varsity baseball record to a perfect 7-0 with a pair of wins in the Redskin Classic on Saturday at Wapakoneta High School.
The only game in that stretch that didn’t result in a win was Friday’s matchup at Benjamin Logan. Rain cut that one short with the score tied at 1-1 in the third inning.
On Saturday, the Redskins blasted the St. Henry Redskins 11-3 in the first game before edging the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds 4-1 in the third game.
The second game went to St. Henry, 8-2 victors over LCC.
“Honestly, I would have taken a 5-2 start,” Wapak varsity coach Jason Brandt said. “Because we’re a young team with a lot of inexperience. We’ve played some very good teams here this week and our kids have really gutted it out and played some really good games.
“We just told them that these two games might have been the culmination of the whole week. We hit the ball very well today and came out strong. Our pitchers threw extremely well. Defensively we played well. There are a couple things to work on still. But we’ll get there.”
Coming into the season, offense was the big question for the Redskins.
So far, so good.
Wapak knocked out 14 hits by from nine different batters — and nine different players scored runs — in the win over St. Henry, highlighted by junior Andrew Hines’ two-run home run in the five-run fifth inning.
Hines had started the game in right field. But Brandt opted to use Chandler Kaeck as a designated hitter for Hines. Kaeck struck out and doubled in two at bats before Brandt let Hines hit for himself. Hines lined the second pitch he saw over the left-field wall.
First baseman Brandon Miller led the charge, going 2 for 3 with a single, triple, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Second baseman Alex Koch went 3 for 3 and scored a run. Catcher Brandon Schreiber was 2-for-4 and scored twice.
Center fielder Johnny Crawford scored twice. Shortstop Josh Apple had a double.
Wapak followed that performance up with 11 hits against LCC.
Schreiber was 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.
Pitcher Marshall Gerlach singled twice in three at bats and drove in a run. Hines was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Apple and Crawford had two hits apiece.
“There wasn’t a kid that didn’t swing the bat well today,” Brandt said. “Everybody from top to bottom did a great job for us.”
On the mound, the Redskins’ pitching strength also showed.
A.J. Eztkorn held St. Henry to four hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out nine and walking four. He allowed three runs, all earned.
Chace Culver relieved Etzkorn with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth and promptly struck out the first three batters he faced, allowing just a two-out infield single in the seventh to pick up the save.
Gerlach went the distance against LCC, scattering eight hits over seven innings with six strikeouts and one walk. He allowed one earned run.
Wapak returns to action at 5 tonight at Minster against the defending Division IV state champions. The Redskins are out for revenge after the Wildcats run-ruled them 19-3 in five innings a year ago.
Tuesday, the Redskins will travel to Shawnee High School to take on Indians in the Western Buckeye League opener for both teams.
“We can’t pat ourselves on the back too much,” Brandt said. “Nobody is going to roll over for us. Minster’s a great team. They have four of their top pitchers back. They’re a quality opponent.
“Then it starts on Tuesday with Shawnee.”