Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Defiance's WBL win streak at 43 games
By Ryan Hines
DEFIANCE - It certainly wasn't easy, but Defiance's streak lives on.
The Defiance baseball team won their 43rd consecutive Western Buckeye League baseball game with a 4-3 triumph over Celina on Tuesday night at Booster Field.
"It's a lot of luck," said Defiance's head coach Tom Held of the 43 straight league wins. "There have been probably 15 games that we could have lost but we got breaks. Just seems like we have got a lot of breaks during this streak. I really don't understand it. We take it one game at a time and we never talk about the streak. I don't know how to explain it."
"I would like to win one WBL game right now," said Celina's head coach Drew Braun, who sees his team fall to 0-3 (6-5 overall) in league play. "I would love to put a couple of league wins together, let alone 43 in a row. You have to take your hat off to them, they have a great program."
Many of Defiance's victories during this four-plus year streak came because of dominating pitching performances and Tuesday was no different. Defiance's junior Anthony Kidston had control of all three of his pitches and went on to strike out 12 Celina batters in the one-run win.
"He does a really nice job of mixing it all up. When you throw that fast and you drop in a changeup like he's able to do, that's tough to adjust to," said Celina's head coach Drew Braun.
Despite the dozen strikeouts, Celina didn't make it easy on Kidston, who came into the game with a 0.00 ERA in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Celina's six hits were triple what Kidston had allowed all season.
"I tell you what, I thought Anthony Kidston had good stuff today. Celina competed at the plate today. He (Kidston) had 12 K's but I thought he had 16 or 17 (strikeout) stuff today," said Held, who is now an amazing 101-9 in WBL play during his 13 seasons at Defiance (7-1, 2-0 WBL). "He got his changeup over, he got his curveball over and he had a fastball of 86 or 87."
Celina was first to get on the scoreboard when Kahl Knapke led off the first inning with a single, was sacrificed to second base on a bunt by Mitch Albers and then driven in on an RBI single by Derek Waterman.
The 1-0 lead was short-lived however as Defiance rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first frame. Ryan Cordray and Jake Thomas had back-to-back singles to start a Defiance rally and Cordray scored a run when Kidston's deep fly ball to rightfield dropped between a pair of Celina outfielders. Kurt Belau added a two-out RBI single to give Defiance a 2-1 lead.
"I felt like we gave them about seven outs in the bottom of the first inning," said Braun. "We don't cover a bunt, we got a guy picked off where we don't get an out and a fly ball in the outfield where we don't make a play. Felt lucky to only give up two runs in that inning."
"In the first inning we were (really close) to breaking the game open. We sent eight guys to the plate but scored only two runs," said Held. "We should have had four or five that inning but then (Mike) Siefker got settled in and pitched well."
Celina tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning when Knapke was hit by a pitch and balked to second, before Kyle Markle's RBI single brought him home.
Defiance broke the 2-2 tie in the fifth inning when Cordray, batting leadoff for the first time of the season, cleared the left-centerfield fence for a solo home run.
"Later in the game we started to sit on his (Siefker's) breaking ball. Ryan sat on the curveball and hit it hard. It was a big hit," said Held of Cordray's home run.
Defiance added an important insurance run in the sixth frame. Austin Hancock doubled to lead off the inning and was followed by a single from Belau. A Gabe Vittorio RBI fielder's choice gave Defiance a 4-2 lead going into Celina's final at-bat.
Siefker reached on an error to start the seventh inning and a one-out Knapke single put the tying run on base. An Albers fielder's choice brought home Siefker but a Markle ground ball to shortstop ended the game.
Celina is back in action again on Friday with a home date against Wapakoneta.