Despite jumping out to a 4-0 lead inning, the Wapakoneta Redskins varsity baseball team fell to the Minster Wildcats Monday afternoon.
Minster pitcher Devon Poeppelman gave up four runs in the first inning, but then completely shut down the Redskin offense with his off-speed pitches, as the Wildcats battled back to win, 8-4.
The Redskins outhit the Wildcats, but committed six errors in the loss. Chace Culver pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs, but only two of them were earned.
“Six errors and a passed ball-strikeout and two earned runs is totally unacceptable,” Wapakoneta varsity coach Jason Brandt said. “I said it on Saturday and I’ll say it again, we’ve got to find an identity right now.”
Five errors on the infield gave the Wildcats enough scoring in the second and third inning to make the game a one-run game down the stretch. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Wapakoneta had a chance to tie the game with a runner on third with one out. Marshall Gerlach started off the inning with a double, and took third base on a sacrifice fly. But the Redskins weren’t able to drive him home to tie the game at five.
Minster hvarsity coach Mike Wiss said that was because Poeppelman was hitting his spots and controlling his pitches very well.
“Devon pitched an outstanding game,” Wiss said. “It got to the point where his curveball got better. He was definitely on the corners in the sixth and seventh innings.”
Brandt said his team needs to come together as one, instead of being nine guys playing for themselves on the field.
“I think we’ve got a lot of guys trying to be the hero, instead of playing as a team,” Brandt said.
The first inning was nearly perfect for the Redskins. They got four runs, they were hitting the ball hard, they were forcing the Wildcats to make plays — then it stopped.
“We came out in that first inning with the pedal to the metal, and then we let up,” Brandt said. “That’s just something that can’t happen.”
While the Redskins only scored runs in the first inning, Brandt said he can’t be upset with how his team is playing offensively right now.
“I’m not upset with the way we’re playing offensively, because I think we’re getting some good at-bats, we’re getting guys on base,” Brandt said. “We’re just not getting that clutch hit right now.”
Without a good defense, it really doesn’t matter what you do offensively, Brandt said.
“Offense is a good thing to have, but if you don’t make the plays defensively, you’re not going to be any good,” Brandt said.
The Redskins break the season up into three parts, and Monday’s loss ended what they call the pre-season. They finished that pre-season with a record of 2-3. Today, with a home game against Shawnee, the league season begins.
“The league season starts tomorrow,” Brandt said. “We have to put all our attention into the next game and move on.”
Wapakoneta is hosting the Shawnee Indians. Scheduled to pitch for Shawnee is their ace, Cory Wilder. Scheduled to pitch for the Redskins is their ace, Johnny Crawford.
Wilder is committed to play baseball next year at North Carolina State University. Crawford has committed to Bowling Green State University.
“If we don’t play any defense like we have the last couple of days, it’s not going to matter who pitches,” Brandt said. “We’ve got to come out and play our game. We know where we can be, both offensively and defensively, and go from there.”