OLD FORT – Senior catcher Jake Yeckley singled with one out in the sixth inning. It was St. Joseph Catholic Central’s first hit of the game, but it opened the floodgates.
No, the Crimson Streaks didn’t pour on hit after hit, but they didn’t have to in order to generate offense.
SJCC scored six runs in the sixth inning on just the one hit en route to a 9-1 Sandusky River League victory over Old Fort on Thursday.
“Baseball is a funny game,” SJCC coach Jason Halka said. “We hung around and put a big inning together. Both pitchers pitched well, and we thought one or two runs might win it.”
St. Joseph (3-3 overall, 2-0 SRL) starting pitcher Lucas Michael reached on an error, allowing Yeckley to reach third. Michael then stole second before Zach Militello hit a ground ball to third base.
The Stockaders‘ Luke Wagner opted to attempt to throw Yeckley out at home, but Yeckley scored for a 2-1 lead. A wild pitch brought Michael home before walks to Josh Kelbley and Jordan Hartley loaded the bases.
Margaretta pitcher Brandon Tittle lost his control and composure and issued a run-scoring walk to Collin Spader and hit Gavin Kubat with a pitch for another run.
Payne Young came on in relief but walked Buddy Wonderly to score another run. A ground ball from the bat of Yeckley appeared to end the inning, but the force play at second base was dropped, allowing two runs to score. Michael grounded out to end the frame.
“We had a goal to answer their run in the first, but it was a matter of when,” Halka said. “We talk about control and knowing what we can and can’t hit.”
Old Fort (2-6, 0-2) was hampered by four errors.
“We like to do it to ourselves,” Old Fort coach Gary Wilson said. “One inning hurt us, and we helped it along with errors. When we play well, we don’t make those errors. It’s the little things like errors and passed balls that hurt us.”
After the teams exchanged runs in the first inning, both Tittle and Michael settled in for a pitchers’ duel. Michael didn’t allow a hit after a double by Marc Harris and a single by Tittle to open the game. Michael went six innings, striking out six while walking three. Spader pitched a scoreless seventh to finish the victory.
“That’s why he’s the ace,” Halka said of Michael. “He hasn’t thrown in a while, but we were hoping for a quality start of him, maybe going four or five innings. He gave us one more than that, but he did a nice job.”
Wilson said he thought his team was close.
“We played well for 75-80 percent of the game,” he said. “We’ve got to finish those last 20 percent if we want to be successful.”