Port Clinton’s Ben Mueller figuratively put his three-base error to start Friday’s game in the envelope.
The Redskins struggled mightily at the plate in three setbacks this week before topping Clyde 6-5 in the Sandusky Bay Conference. Each Port Clinton player wrote down something that needed to be done better on a piece of paper and something they could do to help the team in their role on another before Friday’s game.
Each note was put in a separate envelope. One was destroyed while the other was hung in the dugout.
“If you’re struggling, forget about the past and think about the next pitch or the next swing,” Mueller said. “Baseball is a hard game. Focus on the next play. If you mess up, put it behind you. We sat down before the game and got rid of the bad mojo.
“We let go of everything from this week and focused forward. We took the bad mojo and ripped it up.”
The Redskins (9-7, 3-2) didn’t share the content of their goal-oriented messages but it’s safe to say Collin Schmitt lived up to his. Schmitt doubled as a pinch-hitter to drive in Mueller and Seth Monk to cap the scoring in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday.
“You have to get over the mentality that coming off the bench you’re a little cold,” Schmitt said. “I tried to do what the coaches have been telling me – sit back and drive the ball. The blood got flowing with everybody up and yelling.
“My role is to DH and pinch hit and do what I can to help. Wherever the coaches put me in, that’s where I have to succeed. I put a little pressure on myself to get it done. I didn’t want to let the team down. It was an adrenaline rush and time to get a hit.”
Schmitt, who is a senior, played junior varsity last season.
“He swings a nice bat,” Redskins coach Tracy Bodi said. “He had an opportunity and he stepped up.”
Mueller, who had a hit stolen in his final at-bat Thursday, had three strong plate appearances Friday. He had a sacrifice fly to score Trevor Monk in the second, a sacrifice bunt in the fourth and a line single in the sixth.
“When I made the error in the first, I forgot it,” Mueller said. “We just had a better approach.”
Aidan Rospert doubled and scored on a single from Seth Monk in the second, and Trevor Frias and Stone Scott scored in the fifth. Scott had three hits Friday.
“We wanted to get back to a grinding approach,” Bodi said. “The kids responded. They showed fight we hadn’t had. They dug deep and scrapped a couple runs. We had some big at-bats and Trevor (Monk) battled an aggressive, scary young team.
“It wasn’t just one person this week and everybody stepped up (Friday). It’s easy to play this game when things are going good – the real test is the valleys. We knew it was in there, it was a matter of finding it.”
Monk struck out two and walked one while allowing five hits and five runs in six innings. Drew Fodor notched the save.
Clyde (8-7, 1-3) led 3-0 after the top of the first Friday as Drake Camarata, Ryan Kelley and Jacob Robinett each scored. Kelley had an RBI.
Nate Gittinger doubled and scored on a single from Frank Sewell for a 4-2 lead in the third.
“That was a big answer-run,” Clyde coach George Parks said. “We had back-to-back two-out hits.”
Fliers right fielder Robbie Webb, shortstop Gittinger, second baseman Camarata and left fielder Sewell each made at least one outstanding play on defense Friday.
“Our outfield is as fast as any in the area,” Parks said. “We made some plays, but in the end we gave them some extra outs. We made some spectacular plays, but a couple bounces didn’t go our way.”