Wapakoneta Redskins junior Nate Kaeck (23) runs on the first-base line after a plate appearance Thursday in a Western Buckeye League varsity baseball game against the Celina Bulldogs at Wapakoneta High School. (Staff photo/Michelle Frank)
The Wapakoneta Redskins received production from every level of the batting lineup and were afforded a strong outing on the mound by junior Kodi Morgan to continue their winning ways in Western Buckeye League action, in which Wapak has now won four games in a row.
The Redskins posted a 5-3 win against the Celina Bulldogs in a WBL varsity baseball contest Thursday at Wapakoneta High School.
Wapak opened the scoring with one run in the second inning thanks to the bottom of its lineup.
Morgan singled, Nick Bruns walked, Keaton Metz bunted for a single to load the bases before Jarrett Koch batted in Morgan on a first-pitch single to center field, putting the Redskins ahead 1-0.
In the two innings Celina scored Thursday, the Bulldogs had back-to-back hitters reach base.
With two outs in the third inning, Kaleb Kuhn reached first. Morgan then allowed a two-run homer to Jacob Homan, giving Celina a 2-1 lead.
Wapak tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third after Chace Culver doubled with one out and scored on a Morgan RBI single.
The Redskins retook the lead, creating a pair of runs with execution by, first, the bottom of the order and then the top.
Metz led the inning with an infield single and Koch walked before leadoff hitter Quinn Lotridge singled home Metz for the go-ahead run at 3-2.
Adam Henderson moved Koch and Metz up one base on a sacrifice bunt before Chandler Kaeck scored Koch to make it 4-2 on a sacrifice fly to left field.
In the sixth inning, after consecutive singles by Homan and Cody Vogel, a sacrifice fly scored Homan from third base but Vogel was thrown out at second base after Henderson’s throw from left field was cut off by third baseman Nick Bruns.
The Redskins also posted one run in the sixth with another instance of the bottom of the order setting up the top.
Metz again led the inning with an infield single, Koch pushed Metz to second on a sacrifice bunt. Lotridge reached when a pop-up off his bat landed beyond the reach of the second baseman in short center field. Metz, however, had to stay at second. The two advanced one base on a Chandler Kaeck single then Metz scored the game’s final run on a wild pitch.
“I thought the bottom of our order got us going. I know we scored early but the bottom of our order, like Keaton and Jarrett, scored to get it back to the top of our order,” Wapak varsity coach Jason Brandt said. “We hope the bottom of our order can get on because they set the table for the top of the order. Tonight might have been the first game all year when the top of our order didn’t come through every time. It seems like all year long the top of our order has come through every single at-bat they’ve had.
“That’s why it’s a team game. These kids, from top to bottom, did a great job.”
Morgan did not allow consecutive batters on base at any other point in the game. Morgan allowed five hits, three runs (one earned) and two walks. He struck out four.
“I thought Kodi threw extremely well once again,” Brandt said. “He’s been very good for us every outing he’s thrown for us. The run they got from the home run, the play before we had an error to let that kid get on base.
“Kodi was throwing his fastball and curveball for strikes. It was a tough situation because we weren’t getting any outside pitches called strikes. He battled and battled and went from there.”
With the win, Wapak remained one loss behind league leaders Ottawa-Glandorf and Defiance, who are each undefeated in WBL play.
The Redskins, who are now 4-1 in the WBL, will face both teams next week.
“After that first league game when we dropped it, we could have went the other direction right off the bat. We told the guys, ‘we still control our own destiny. You lose the first game, you still have everybody else to play.’” Brandt said. “Next week is a huge week with three league games. We’ve got to go one game at a time. Even with that being said, we have Liberty-Benton (today), who is unbeaten and a very good program. We’ve got to take care of business (today) and then look ahead.”
The Redskins will play again today in a non-league contest against the Liberty-Benton Eagles in Findlay.
Liberty-Benton is 12-0 overall this season.
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