SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Twenty up. Twenty down.
Only the 21st Shawnee Indians batter got the best of Johnny Crawford.
The Wapakoneta Redskins junior came within one out of throwing a complete-game no-hitter in Wapak’s 4-0 win over the Shawnee Indians in a Western Buckeye League varsity baseball game Tuesday night at Shawnee High School.
A hanging changeup was his only misstep of the night.
“Of course — six and two-thirds,” Crawford said. “It was a changeup, first pitch, and I left it right over the middle and he shot it up the middle.”
“He was one batter over the minimum,” Redskins varsity coach Jason Brandt said. “We can’t ask for anything better.”
Only one Shawnee batter reached base prior to the seventh inning. Left fielder Casey Mucahy drew a one-out walk in the third inning. But Wapak catcher Brandon Schreiber gunned him down as he tried to steal second, ending the inning.
Crawford was efficient, throwing just 66 pitches, 49 of those for strikes. He struck out five. Ten of the Shawnee outs were on ground balls. And only two balls left the infield the entire game.
“That was definitely my lowest pitch-count game I’ve ever had,” Crawford said. “It felt great.”
He got plenty of help from his defense too.
Shawnee’s Cory Wilder appeared to have a two-out single in the fourth inning, smashing a hard grounder up the middle. But second baseman Alex Koch snagged the ball on the edge of the outfield grass and fired the ball to first. His throw reached first baseman Brandon Miller’s mitt a split second before Wilder’s foot landed on the bag.
There were two more bang-bang plays to open the home half of the seventh. Sam Altenbach hit a soft grounder to Miller at first and Miller flipped the ball to a covering Crawford for the out. Then Trevor Anderson dribbled one to second that Koch charged, throwing him out at first.
After Wilder’s bloop single over short, Crawford needed just two pitches to get Kyle Miller to pop out to Brandon Miller right in front of the Redskins’ dugout.
“Our middle infielders played tremendous defense,” Brandt said.
“They really backed me up today,” Crawford said.
It took Wapak a little while to get going offensively. The Redskins didn’t score their first run until the fifth inning.
With Andrew Hines on second and two outs, Keaton Zwiebel hit a bloop over the head of Altenbach at third. Altenbach raced backwards and tried to make an over-the-head catch.
The ball deflected off his glove and landed well foul. As Altenbach protested that the ball should have been called foul, Hines raced home for the go-ahead run.
The Redskins finally got to starting pitcher Wilder in the sixth, batting around and scoring three runs.
Brandon Miller drew a two-out walk to get things started. He moved to second on an error on a pickoff attempt and scored on Schreiber’s single to left.
Schreiber went to second on the throw to the plate before Chace Culver drove him in with a rocket-shot double off the wall in right field.
Hines and Marshall Gerlach walked to load the bases before Shawnee coach Chad Spencer replaced Wilder with Branden Kohl. Zwiebel then picked up his second RBI of the night, lining a single into left to plate Culver.
Wapak had six hits in the game.
“I was very pleased with our approaches at the plate,” Brandt said.
The Redskins will be back in action at 5 p.m. Thursday in a home WBL game against the Kenton Wildcats.
Culver is slated to start on the mound for Wapak.