NEW BREMEN — Wapakoneta’s junior Adam Henderson ran in from the field between innings with a hamburger on a paper plate he’d just been handed by a group of New Bremen students grilling along the left field line.
“I can’t eat this,” Henderson said, laughing, as he returned to the dugout. Not only was it the last Friday of Lent, Wapakoneta varsity baseball coach Jason Brandt doesn’t allow food in the dugout.
An uneaten burger was about the only disappointing thing about a Good Friday trip to New Bremen for Henderson — who drove in five runs on a 3 for 4 day — and the Redskins, who put the pedal down early on the Cardinals and never let up in a 12-1 five-inning run-rule win.
Wapakoneta has allowed just one run in its last three games coming into Friday’s game with two straight shutouts, a 14-0 win Saturday over Lima Senior and a 7-0 win Thursday against Elida.
“When you’re on the visiting side of things, you want to come out, be aggressive and do the little things that you need to do,” Brandt said.
Wapakoneta starting pitcher Kodi Morgan worked from behind in the count early in the game, but the junior right-hander finished off Cardinal batters and ended up throwing first-pitch strikes to 10 of the 19 batters he faced by striking out five of the final six Cardinals in the game.
“He battled all day long,” Brandt said. “He threw a minimal amount of pitches and it was his spot in the rotation with the league schedule being messed up by rain and cold the way it has. He’ll jump back in the rotation next Friday and throw again. We just wanted him to work on his command. Give him credit, and [catcher] Nate [Kaeck] did great job behind the plate blocking pitches.”
Morgan continued the roll Redskins pitchers have been on, as they entered the game with a 2.27 earned run average.
New Bremen, meanwhile, allowed seven unearned runs with four errors.
“We gave them a lot of extra bases,” New Bremen varsity coach Josh Bowersock said. “And they took the extra bases. They forced us to make plays. They put it in play, probably hit more bleeders than line drives, but they found holes. And that’s the bottom line.”
Wapakoneta jumped on New Bremen starting pitcher Jacob Gilberg early after the 10 a.m. first pitch, with the first three batters singling and two of them scoring in the top of the first for a 2-0 lead the Redskins would keep extending throughout the game.
“Our first three batters laced singles and it was a good piece of hitting by all of them,” Brandt said. “One through nine, everybody produced in one shape or form. They all had good at-bats. We had great hustle today, running hard out of the box for infield singles and moved up on throws. Just the little things you need to do whether it’s a one- run game or an eight-run game.”
The Redskins added two more in the second inning with a Henderson RBI double that scored Quinn Lotridge, who reached via an infield single and Chandler Kaeck’s opposite field bloop into center that allowed Henderson to wheel around the bases for a 4-0 advantage.
Taylor Gonzales drove in the fifth run of the game in the top of the third when he singled to left field to bring Nate Kaeck home. After Jordan Kaeck laid down a perfect bunt single down the third base line to load the bases and New Bremen shortstop Troy Siegel made a diving stop off the bat of Lotridge to momentarily save a couple of runs, Henderson grounded a two-run, two-out single past the second baseman for a 7-0 advantage. A wild pitch made it 8-0.
New Bremen stopped Wapak’s unanswered barrage with a run in the bottom of the third inning. After Troy Siegel singled, he went to second on an error. A Nolan Fox single to center and a stolen base by Fox put runners on second and third with one out, setting up Jacob Gilberg’s sacrifice fly that made it 8-1 before the third out was made at third base on a rundown.
Wapakoneta kept building on the 8-1 lead. Jordan Kaeck drew a bases-loaded walk to bring Nate Kaeck, who singled with one out.
Wapak scored four more times in the fifth off new Cardinal reliever Travis Bertelsen. Henderson reached on an error, Culver singled with one out and Nate Kaeck walked to load up the bases. Morgan lifted a sac fly into the outfield for 10-1 lead, and Logan Martin brought in two more with a two-run, two-out single that scored Culver and Nate Kaeck.
Gilberg shouldered the loss for New Bremen, going four innings with one strikeout. He gave up nine runs, but just five were earned, as the Cardinals committed four costly errors. Bertelsen worked an inning, giving up three unearned runs.