BUCYRUS – Bucyrus may be in the middle of the Northern 10 Conference standings, but when their defense comes to play, the Redmen have enough pitching to be dangerous for the league leaders.
The Redmen proved as much by defeating the first-place Upper Sandusky Rams, 9-5, in an N10 game at Veterans’ Memorial Field.
“This was a big win, a signature win for us,” Bucyrus coach Sean Maudsley said. “When we come to play, you never know what is going to happen.”
The game did not begin well for Redmen starter Gavin Lewis. Upper Sandusky (8-4, 7-2 N10) got a lead-off walk from Derek Clark in the first inning, Clark stole second and came home on a one-out single by Cody Gabriel.
Bucyrus (6-7, 4-5) answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Zane Richardson singled with one out and Lewis singled with two outs. Cole Hollis walked and Richardson scored on a wild pitch.
The Rams took a 3-1 lead with two in the second, courtesy of a pair of walks, a stolen base, a ground out and a wild pitch.
“(Lewis) went deep in counts and threw some balls in the dirt,” Upper Sandusky coach Daniel Emerick said. “We didn’t take advantage of some of our chances.”
The Redmen pulled to within 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the second. Jesse Heinle walked, stole second and scored on two wild pitches.
Bucyrus then took the lead for good with three in the third. Clark relieved Rams’ starter Gabriel, tweaked his arm and had to leave the game. Lewis led off with a single and Tommy Schluter walked with one out. Lewis scored on a single by Nick Kohler, Schluter came home on a wild pitch and Kohler scored on a sacrificed fly turned error by Carson Herschler.
“Our approach with Cody was to be patient,” Maudsley said. “We needed to make him work. He’s a very good baseball player. We had to be patient. Unfortunately for him, he had to leave the game.”
After getting the lead, Lewis settled down on the mound. He went six innings, giving up just three hits, while striking out nine and walking six. Schluter pitched the seventh.
Lewis supported his own cause with three hits and drove in two runs. Richardson and Kohler had two hits each. Herschler and Heinle had the other two hits. Bucyrus scored at least one run in every inning.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Emerick said. “Half of our guys were worried about the cold. The big winner was the weather. When it gets to 30 degrees, everybody is equal.”
Gabriel had two hits, while Tanner Smalley and Arik Schneider had the other two. Clark took the loss on the hill, recording four strikeouts and three walks.
“Gavin is a pitcher who is always adjusting,” Maudsley said. “This was the tightest strike zone we’ve seen, but it was consistent. Gavin adjusted to it and that’s why he got stronger as the game went on.”