Wapakoneta Redskins senior Chace Culver (5) rounds third base Friday in a Western Buckeye League varsity baseball game against the Shawnee Indians. (Staff photo/Michelle Frank)
Despite being the visiting team on their home field, a patient Wapakoneta Redskins team rallied for a 7-2 victory Friday over the Shawnee Indians in a Western Buckeye League varsity baseball contest held at Wapakoneta High School.
The game was supposed to be held at Shawnee High School but was moved due to wet field conditions.
Wapakoneta starting pitcher Kodi Morgan dueled with Shawnee starting pitcher Zach Peake but, in the end, Morgan picked up the win en route to a complete game.
“That’s his second outing this year,” Redskins varsity head coach Jason Brandt said. “He gave up a couple early but he was pretty much in command the rest of the way.”
Shawnee got on the board first after Peake put the Redskins down 1-2-3 in the top of the first.
Leadoff batter Jake Sevitz singled, then Trevor Anderson walked. William Kleffner batted into a fielder’s choice which put out Anderson, and pushed Sevitz to third. Peake singled to bring home Sevitz, giving the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second, Wapakoneta went 1-2-3 again. In the bottom of the inning, the Indians scored another run as Sevitz hit another single to bring home Brandon Kohl. Sevitz finished the game 3 for 4 at the plate.
Despite trailing 2-0, however, the Redskins did not lose their focus.
“Zach did a good job getting us off balance early,” Brandt said of Peake. “I think he continued to do that throughout the game. We just became a little more patient as the game wore on.”
Become patient is exactly what Wapakoneta did.
Morgan locked down the Indians in three straight 1-2-3 innings before the Redskins’ bats came alive.
In the sixth inning, Peake walked leadoff batter Nick Bruns, who reached second on a Jarrett Koch sacrifice hit. Quinn Lotridge then singled, and Bruns reached third. Adam Henderson batted into a fielder’s choice, as Bruns was tagged out trying to retreat to third.
With two outs and third base empty, the momentum may have seemed to die for the Redskins. They kept their composure to keep the momentum, however.
“We worked the count and finally attacked the baseball the way we knew we were capable of,” Brandt said. “We got a guy on in the fourth and a couple more in the fifth and it enabled us to get a little more confidence.”
A Chandler Kaeck walk loaded the bases for Chace Culver, who then smashed a double to the fences to score three runners, swinging the momentum completely into Wapakoneta’s favor with a 3-2 lead.
Peake worked out of the inning, and the Indians looked to counter in the bottom half. Peake reached on an error; he was initially ruled out by the bases umpire before the plate umpire overruled the call.
A bad throw by the Redskins’ Keaton Metz pulled first baseman Culver off the bag, as Culver desperately swung his glove trying to tag Peake out on the baseline.
The error did not cause Morgan to lose focus on the mound, however.
Despite a Chase Wilder single and a Justin Peake walk which loaded the bases, Morgan forced Kohl into a pop-up, which ended the inning with no damage done.
“His pitch count was getting high, but he’s a competitor,” Brandt said. “We asked him how he felt in the sixth inning, and he said he was feeling good. He’s a team guy there ready to go.”
In the final inning, the Redskins kept their offense in motion and added insurance runs to cap off the win.
Morgan singled as Peake’s final batter faced of the game. The Indians brought in Justin Fullem to pitch, but the Redskins figured out his style quickly and racked up three straight hits, adding one later to push the lead to the final score of 7-2.
Sevitz finished the inning on the mound for Shawnee.
Morgan stayed on the mound for another 1-2-3 inning to get the win and the complete game. He allowed just two earned runs, six hits and two walks while posting four strikeouts.
For the Indians, Zach Peake pitched six-plus innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits, while adding two strikeouts and two walks. He took the loss.
Fullem pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief, allowing four hits and three earned runs. Sevitz finished the game by pitching a perfect final one-third inning.
The win gave Wapak its first WBL win of the season after dropping its season opener 2-1 to Van Wert. It also ended a string of two losses after three wins to open the season.
The Redskins (4-2, 1-1) are back in action today at home in a doubleheader against the Lima Senior Spartans.
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