DELPHOS — The Wapakoneta Redskins varsity baseball team fell back on the solid pitching and hitting of their No. 1 starting pitcher to pick up a win in the first game of the 2013 season.
Johnny Crawford went 6 innings and drove in two runs Monday to give the Redskins a 6-3 win over the Delphos St. John’s Blue Jays.
The lefty Crawford struck out six and did not give up an earned run in the road victory.
“It felt good to be back finally, it was a little chilly out here,” Crawford said. “Most of the time I felt good, I had a few pitches that were a little off, but it was the first time out, so that’s going to happen.”
Game-time temperature was in the low-40s, but by the 4th inning it had dropped to a brisk 38 degrees.
Wapakoneta varsity coach Jason Brandt said Crawford had a good first outing for his senior season.
“He threw the ball well today, considering the weather,” Brandt said. “We had him on a pitch count before the game that he wasn’t going to exceed before the game started. He hit right around 84 pitches, so we decided to pull him.”
A.J. Etzkorn, also a southpaw, came in for the save in the seventh, and struck out the side to secure the win for Crawford.
“A.J. was ready to go,” Brandt said. “He did a great job as well.”
Crawford also added two RBIs in the first inning to give the Redskins a quick lead. Wapakoneta had a four-run lead before the Blue Jays turn at the plate.
“I thought our guys played good defensively,” Crawford said. “We got some good hits, we played well overall as a team and it was good to get the win.”
Brandon Schreiber also batted in two runs. He went 3-for-4 with a double, and had four steals on the day.
“Brandon Schreiber is an aggressive-type player and aggressive kid,” Brandt said. “Being the catcher, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He does a great job out there. He shows hustle. You see his uniform at the end of the game, and he’s going to be one of the dirtiest players we have.”
The Redskins amassed nine stolen bases on the afternoon, something Brandt was happy to see.
“We ran the bases really well,” Brandt said. “We had nine stolen bases today, which shows our athleticism, that we can still get better.”
As a team, the Redskins went 11-for-30 at the plate, and drew three walks.
“We did a pretty good job,” Brandt said. “We had some good quality at-bats. Most of our kids had good approaches at the plate today. We saw a slower pitcher today so we have to have a mental approach to take the ball up the middle and the right side. The kids did a really good job of doing that.”
Defensively, the Redskins committed a few errors in the field. Brandon Miller at first base and Josh Apple at shortstop each had an error on the day, which accounted for the unearned runs for the Blue Jays.
“We had all their runs down as unearned runs,” Brandt said. “That’s something that we can get better at. We had some defensive miscues. We can attribute that to not being outside enough to get ready. That being said, we know we can get better.”
Despite the miscues, there were plenty of defensive gems to make up for the mistakes. Schreiber, from behind the plate, picked off a runner at second and gunned down two trying to steal second.
“That’s something Brandon is underrated at,” Brandt said. “He’s probably the best catcher we’ve ever had defensively. His throws are right on the money.”
At the plate, Miller had a successful day, reaching base on all four of his plate appearances. He drew two walks, had a hit, reached on an error and drove in a run.
Wapakoneta is now 1-0 on the season, and is preparing for a home match against the Greenville Wave today at 5 p.m. The game will be played at the middle school because of construction at the high school field.
Delphos St. John’s falls to 0-1 on the season. They travel to Crestview on Wednesday.