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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Fast start helps Flyers win opener

By Gary R. Rasberry
For the second straight day to start the spring sports season, the first inning was not a good one for the Celina Bulldogs baseball team.
Marion Local took advantage of a two-out error that allowed two runs to score and then added a third in the first frame to take a 3-0 lead - the second time in as many games the Bulldogs allowed three runs in the first inning.
Flyers pitcher Alex Subler shut Celina down for six innings before the pitch count took him out for the seventh. Celina scored three times in the final frame as Flyers relief pitching took a shaky nosedive before rebounding and taking a 4-3 win at Montgomery Field for their season opener.
Celina (0-2) coach Drew Braun was disappointed in the first inning breakdown as all three runs were unearned. Bulldog southpaw Jeremy Kerr had runners on second and third with two outs after striking out Troy Prenger. Then Jason Wolters grounded to shortstop in what looked to be a routine end-of-inning out, but the throw was off the mark and bounced away from the first baseman, allowing Marcus Moeller and Ben Smith to score. Jace Homan followed with a double to left to score Wolters making it 3-0.
"It was real disappointing today because we gave three," said Braun. "We were out of the inning with the third out and threw it away. They score two, come back and pop a double to get the third run."
After giving up another run in the second, Kerr settled down for the next two innings and gave way to Travis Stachler, who no-hit the Flyers over the last three innings.
Subler had Celina out in front for most of the six innings he worked. With Celina taking fastballs early, Subler was able to stymie Bulldog hitters with a curveball. The Flyer senior struck out four and walked none in scattering five hits.
"He did a tremendous job coming out here," said Flyers coach Greg Bruns. "... I saw his curveball started to break like it did today. He got them guessing and off-balance."
"I told the kids we let too many fastballs go by early in the count and then had to hit his pitch," said Braun. "He was pounding the zone. At one time I was looking, he was 43-of-60 strikes (43 strikes in 60 pitches). He was around the plate the whole night and we were taking pitches. It was disappointing taking some of those fastballs and then having to try and swing at some of that off-speed stuff."
With his pitch count after six in the 70s, Bruns didn't want to stretch his ace out too much in his first outing of the season and brought in Charlie Schwieterman to try and get three outs.
Turned out, the control that Subler had in the first six innings was lost on Schwieterman as the senior walked five of the six batters he faced, allowing two to score - one on a wild pitch - and having the bases loaded with one out before Bruns called on Moeller from short to try and close things out.
Darrin Waterman stepped up and grounded between first and the mound, Moeller made a great stop and got Waterman out for the second out, allowing Josh Leonard to score making it a one-run game at 4-3. After intentionally walking John Bonvillian, Moeller enticed Kerr, 0-for-3 in the game, to fly out to Chris Stucke in centerfield ending the game.
"Very first game and this cold weather, we didn't want to blow him out," said Bruns about Subler. "We went with 73 pitches, I believe. It was just time to get him out. I know he wanted to go more.
"Give Celina credit. I knew they weren't going to go away."
"We didn't do anything that last inning. We just walked around the bases and got a couple of runs in," said Braun.
Moeller's save was in tandem with a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Jared Prenger, Homan and Smith had the other Flyer hits on the day.
Brian Brockly had another solid day at the plate for Celina, going 2-for-3 with an RBI while Ben Prenger added a double.
Marion opens the home schedule on Thursday, facing New Bremen in a nonconference game. Celina stays at Montgomery Field to face Parkway on Thursday before making its first road trip on Friday to New Bremen.
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