Wapakoneta ACME starting pitcher Quinn Lotridge made quick work of the Lima Central Catholic ACME offense Wednesday, mixing hitting the corners with his fastball and throwing his curve late in counts.
The game lasted less than 90 minutes and was finished despite threats of rain in the forecast around the 6:30 p.m. start time.
In five innings pitched, Lotridge gave up one hit and allowed just three baserunners total Wednesday, making 71 pitches in the outing. Lotridge struck out seven hitters in his team’s 6-0 win in summer baseball action at Wapakoneta High School.
“Quinn did a nice job,” Wapakoneta head coach Willie Sammetinger said. “He was on top of the game all night long. He threw the breaking ball very well.
“He went an inning longer than I wanted to him to but he said he wanted to go one more,” his ACME coach said. “He (Lotridge) said he felt strong and obviously he was.”
LCC coach Brian Gephart described why his team struggled against Lotridge.
“We got down in the count and let (Lotridge) throw curveballs that we had to swing at because they were close, plus we also got strike three called on us,” Gephart said. “We couldn’t put the ball in play. Good things happen when you put the ball in play, but we just couldn’t do that.”
Lotridge also helped his cause on the mound with a 3-for-3 performance with two runs scored from the leadoff spot in Wapak’s lineup.
Lotridge opened the bottom of the first inning with a double, moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Kaeck but was stranded at third.
Wapak eventually struck in the third inning with three runs.
Walks by Jon Eaton and Logan Martin preceded a single by Lotridge to load the bases, then Jordan Kaeck plated two on a single to put Wapak up 2-0.
Lotridge scored on a wild pitch to increase the lead to 3-0.
Jordan Kaeck was retired on a ground ball double play for the first two outs. Nate Kaeck followed with a walk but was stranded.
LCC’s first hit of the game was in the fourth inning.
Wapak bolstered its lead in the fifth with three more runs.
Lotridge led the inning with a single, his third hit of the game. A single by Jordan Kaeck pushed Lotridge to second base.
A bunt attempt by Chandler Kaeck caught the infield off guard, as LCC’s third baseman sailed a hurried throw high of the first baseman’s reach, allowing Lotridge to score and the two Kaecks to reach second and third.
Nate Kaeck followed with an RBI sacrifice bunt, scoring Jordan Kaeck and moving Chandler Kaeck to third base. A sacrifice fly to left field by Taylor Gonzales plated Chandler Kaeck for Wapak’s final run of the game,holding a 6-0 lead.
Gonzales relieved Lotridge for the final two innings, retiring six of the seven batters he faced.
A one-out double in the seventh inning was LCC’s second and final hit of the game. It was also the first time an LCC runner reached second base the entire game.
“Taylor threw two strong innings,” Sammetinger said of Gonzalez. “He did a nice job.”
In light of Lotridge’s strong offensive performance Wednesday, Sammetinger commented on his leadoff hitter.
“He’s a hell of hitter. He does a nice job. He makes contact,” Sammetinger said of Lotridge. “Very seldom will you see him strike out. He puts the ball in play.”
Jordan Kaeck contribued two singles, two RBIs and a sacrifice bunt for Wapak.
Wednesday’s win gave Wapak an 11-6 record this summer. The team has rebounded with two straight wins after a 9-2 loss Monday at Shawnee.
“After that debacle in Shawnee on Monday, last night and tonight they’ve played well,” Sammetinger said Wednesday. “We’ll be ready for the tournament.”
The sectional tournament will begin Sunday for ACME teams.
Wapak will conclude the week with home games against Sidney today and Celina on Friday, both 6:30 p.m. starts.