- Eyes On
After Wednesday’s 9-6 win over the Sidney Yellow Jackets, the Wapakoneta Redskins are owners of a two-game win streak, one straight in the Western Buckeye League.
Next up for the Redskins? How about the Defiance Bulldogs, owners of a 54-game WBL win streak.
Defiance (11-1 overall, 3-0 WBL) has not lost a WBL varsity baseball game since April 28, 2006. Wapak will try to put an end to that streak at 5 p.m. Friday at Defiance High School.
“We don’t have to be perfect,” Wapak varsity coach Jason Brandt said. “We just have to come out and do what we’re capable of doing, playing good solid defense, doing the little things when we’re up to bat, and going from there.
“We told them it’s just like any other game. But it’s a game on our schedule that we look forward to.”
The Redskins (12-3 overall, 4-1 WBL) will need to bounce back from a sloppy win over Sidney.
After jumping out to a 7-0 lead after three innings, Wapak committed five errors in the final four innings to allow the Yellow Jackets to creep back within striking distance.
“That’s high school baseball. We knew we weren’t going to make every defensive play all year long,” Brandt said. “Fortunately for us, today was a day where we were able to have some errors and still get the job done.”
Second baseman Alex Koch had a big day at the plate. The junior was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored.
Center fielder Johnny Crawford went 1-for-3, doubled, scored a run and drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Chandler Kaeck continued to hit the ball hard, ripping a pair of singles in three at-bats and scoring twice. But he had to leave the game in the fifth inning when he appeared to strain his lower back while trying to field a ground ball beside the mound
Catcher Brandon Schreiber, who leads the team in walks by a more than 2-to-1 margin, drew three more walks and scored a run.
Dom Campos, who has had a hot bat of late, was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Brandt used four pitchers in the win. Junior Marshall Gerlach started and threw four innings. He gave up three runs, one earned, on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
Kaeck faced two batters before his injury. He left the game and was replaced by Andrew Hines (one inning, two hits, one strikeout, two runs, one earned).
Campos closed out the game, throwing two scoreless innings.
“Nothing against our pitchers because they haven’t thrown in a long time because of our schedule,” Brandt said. “We knew they’d be a little rusty. But they came out and did a pretty good job for us.”
Sophomore Chace Culver will start on the mound against Defiance.
“If he comes out and throws the ball like he has all year, we’ll be fine,” Brandt said. “He’ll let them put the ball in play and we’ll just have to make the plays. That’s all we can ask for.”
The Bulldogs will counter with University of Louisville-bound Anthony Kidston and his 90-mph fastball.
Kidston is 4-0 in four starts with a 0.61 ERA. In 23 innings of work he has allowed just four hits while striking out 52 and walking four. His average against is .053.
“He’s got great command,” Brandt said. “He’s got a tremendous changeup and curveball. And those two things are what he beat us with tremendously last year. ...
“We’ve just got to have a good approach, a good mental side of things, and be ready to go.”
In Defiance’s 11-1 win over Wapak last season, Kidston struck out 13 while holding the Redskins to just three hits and three walks.
To help prepare for Kidston and the Bulldogs, Brandt is bringing in former Wapak assistant and former Lima Senior head coach Jimmy Morris to throw batting practice for the Redskins this afternoon.
“He’s done it for us in the past, just to give our kids a little different look,” Brandt said. “He can bring it pretty good.
“It’s going to help us get our hands ready and be ready to face a guy like Kidston. Because no one can simulate 88-to-92 mph.”