ELIDA — Defense wins games.
That’s true for the most part, but a team needs a little bit of offense to break the tie every once in a while.
The visiting Wapakoneta Redskins found themselves tied in a scoreless tie with the Elida Bulldogs in the top of the 11th inning.
“We knew we’d get a run sooner or later,” senior shortstop Josh Apple said. “We just didn’t know when.”
In the top of the 11th inning with one out, the bases loaded and Elida’s infield in, Apple hit a ball slowly toward the left side of the infield.
With Brandon Schreiber on third base and sprinting toward home to try and break the tie, the throw was off, and wasn’t there in time. Wapakoneta eventually won the game 1-0.
“It was good to finally break through there and score,” Apple said of his game-winning RBI. “It was up and down the whole game. We could not hit today at all.”
Senior pitcher Johnny Crawford gave the Redskins 10 innings of work, striking out nine and giving up only four hits.
While he put in 10 innings of work, he had an efficient day on the mound, walking only one batter, and throwing 123 pitches.
“Johnny battled,” Wapakoneta varsity coach Jason Brandt said. “Out of the 10 innings, he only faced 35 batters. He was only five batters over the minimum of what you can do in 10 innings. He didn’t walk a batter until the 10th inning. Very good command today of his pitches.”
After the Redskins got the lead at 1-0, A.J. Etzkorn came in to close out the game and eventually earned the save.
Etzkorn walked the first batter and struck out another. The runner took second on a ground ball fielder’s choice. Then the runner took third base on a wild pitch.
There were two outs, tying run on third base. A rocket down the first base line and Chandler Kaeck dove to make a tremendous stop, collected the ball and beat the runner to the bag.
“Our defense played tremendous, Josh Apple made some really nice plays at shortstop,” Brandt said. “Chandler there at the end of the game.”
Wapakoneta’s defense played error-free baseball against Elida to record their third shutout in a row. Brandt said he is happy with the defensive effort.
“It was a good job defensively there at the end,” Brandt said. “We played error-free ball there for 11 innings. Johnny and A.J. threw tremendous, once again. Pitching and defense will win games, but our offense literally stunk tonight.”
The Redskins were only able to muster up five hits in the game, but they drew nine walks.
The chances were there, but everything seemed to go wrong when trying to get the tie-breaker on the board.
Striking out on bunt attempts, swinging on ball four, and striking out in general were themes Wednesday night. The Redskin batters struck out a total of 14 times in 49 plate appearances.
Speaking to the effort of all his guys in a long game, and their will to not give up on the defensive end, Brandt said he was impressed.
“We still have some room to improve, but all around it was a really nice day defensively,” Brandt said.
The Redskins will now take on the Versailles Tigers today at home. This is a game not originally on the schedule, but added late to make up for early missed games.
The Redskins improve to 5-4 on the season, after starting the season at 2-4.
Wapakoneta has completed three shutouts in a row, against the New Bremen Cardinals, the Kenton Wildcats and Elida.
“Knock on wood,” Apple said.