Friday, June 19th, 2009
By Mark Ruschau
Bulldogs sweep a pair from Indians
With a depleted roster, missing four players and playing its third and fourth games in an eight-game stretch over just five days, Celina ACME baseball coach Rob Howell got exactly what the doctor ordered.
Celina got adequate pitching and timely hitting on the way to posting a 15-5 and 10-3 twinbill sweep over the Fort Recovery Indians in Mercer County ACME baseball action on Thursday night at Montgomery Field.
With the sweep, Celina improves to 11-6 while Fort Recovery falls to 2-9 following the two losses.
Josh Leonard and Kyle Berry came up big for Celina on the mound as the two not only ate up big innings going into the weekend, but they both pitched effectively leading their team to wins. Leonard pitched a six-inning complete game in the first game, allowing four runs on seven hits and did not walk a batter while striking out three.
Leonard's first-game performance was even more impressive as he set down 17 of the last 21 Indians that he faced after allowing four runs and five hits in the first inning. Caleb Shrives had six hits and six RBI to pace the Celina attack and Hayden Heiby added five hits and seven RBI.
Liking what he saw in game one, Howell trotted Leonard to start the second game as well and the results were similar to the first game. After giving up a pair of runs in the first inning, Leonard allowed just one more run and three hits to gain the win in the second game too.
Having pitched his allotted 10 innings in three days, Leonard turned the ball over to Berry and the freshman pitched three innings of one-hit, shutout ball to complete the game. Berry walked just one and struck out five.
"We are low on pitching and we have games stacked so we came into this game with a strategy tonight, have Josh throw nice and easy, throw strikes and he did that," said Howell. "Josh is a senior leader and he does his job well. Kyle came in and took up the slack in the second game, threw strikes and threw well."
"We have been struggling to score runs all summer," said Fort Recovery coach Chris Galdeen. "We went about a week without scoring and that ended earlier this week and tonight we hit the ball hard and it is nice to see that we have improved, but it still isn't good enough since we lost both games."
Offensively, the Bulldogs scored their 25 runs on 25 hits as they also took advantage of 13 Fort Recovery walks. Of the 25 runs, 13 came after the Bulldogs had two outs.
A pair of two-out rallies, one in each game, was the difference for Celina
"Two-out run production has been one of the keys to our success all summer," said Howell. "Early on in the summer, we were leaving men on base and we left a lot of runners on tonight, but when the game was on the line, these guys are really stepping up and I am proud of them for that. They have accepted the challenge and they have handled it well."
In game one, trailing 4-2, Celina scored three times in the second inning to take the lead for good. Leonard walked with one out, stole second. Mike Siefker then reached on a fielder's choice, with Leonard taking third. After a walk to Kyle Markle, the Indians looked to be out of the inning as Hayden Heiby flew out but Caleb Shreves came up with the big hit as he singled in two runs, with the third run coming on a throwing error by Fort Recovery.
In game two, trailing 2-0, Celina tied the game in the fourth with two outs. Markle led off the inning with a triple but it looked like he would be stranded as Heiby and Shreves struck out. Markle did score on a wild pitch with Kyle Fink at the plate before Fink singled, stole second and scored on a pinch-hit single by Kahl LaRue.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good, scoring a pair of runs in the fifth. Brandon Brooks walked to lead off the inning. Leonard laid down a bunt single that was thrown away by the Indians, allowing both runners to move up a base. Heiby then gave his team the lead with a two-run single.
"Celina hit the ball well tonight and it seemed like whenever we had two outs that they would have their "A" guys up and they delivered," said Galdeen. "They had the guys they need to have up and they delivered, we could not get an out, they hit line drives, it is tough to get outs when they are hitting line drives."
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