Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
By Colin Foster
Celina gets past Indians
CELINA - The Celina baseball team showed its depth on the mound and overall resiliency Monday in a 3-2 victory over Fort Recovery at Montgomery Field.
After the Indians came back to tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, the Bulldogs bounced right back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the fifth to take the lead and then rode the pitching staff the rest of the way to come away with the win.
Celina's Andy Sneddon walked to open the home fifth and advanced to second on a grounder by Cody Vogel. Fort Recovery pitcher Elijah Kahlig, in relief of Cole Wendel, struck out Skyler McCarter for the second out, but back-to-back walks and an error on the contact by Brandon McGillvary allowed Sneddon to plate the winning run.
"You could tell our guys were jittery, guys were nervous," first-year Celina baseball coach Andy Mikesell said. "We have a lot of guys who are in their first year starting varsity or playing a big role in varsity, so they're working off the cobwebs."
"We had a couple opportunities to get some more runs, and we put the ball in play pretty well, but Celina made the plays," Fort Recovery coach Jerry Kaup said. "It was a close ball game, and we knew we'd come over here and face a pretty solid ball club. It just didn't drop our way tonight."
Celina's Kaleb Kuhn singled to open the bottom of the second and came around to score when the ball was overthrown on his steal attempt to second base. The Bulldogs added their second run the following inning as Vogel, who led off the inning with a triple, was brought in on Jimmy Luebke's sacrifice liner to center field.
"Cody (Vogel) finally came through," Mikesell said. "We were waiting on him for him to stop popping up. He'll be capable of that every time he goes to the plate, it's just in his head.
"Anytime you score early, it's good, but I'd like to be more consistent, especially with the hits. Even if we don't get them in, it's good to start off early getting hits every inning."
Kuhn struck out five in just over four innings of work and seemed to find his groove on the mound following a rough patch in the top of the second.
The Indians' Nate Lochtefeld singled with one out in the top of the second, then Mikie Joash and Ben Will drew walks to load the bases. Kuhn got out of the jam, with a strikeout of Kyle Schroer, followed by a Derek Backs line out to end the inning.
Fort Recovery again put baserunners on in the top of the third as Blake Boughman drew a one-out walk, followed by a Kahlig single to put runners on first and second. A double steal with two outs moved the runners in scoring position, but Kuhn once again got out of the jam by forcing a groundout.
The Indians left six runners stranded through the first three innings.
"You have to give him credit for that. He made the pitches when he had to in the times when I thought we had the opportunity to put him on the ropes," said Kaup about Kuhn.
Kuhn pitched a 1-2-3 top of the fourth inning, but Fort Recovery tied the game on its next time to the plate, capitalizing off Celina's first error of the game. Cole Wendel walked with one out, and Boughman soft grounder was overthrown to first base, which left two runners on. Celina's Cole Loughridge was brought in to pitch, and Kahlig singled in Wendel on the second pitch of his at-bat. Kent Retz sacrifice fly drove in Boughman to knot the score at 2-2.
Loughridge came back to retire the side in the sixth and Luebke came on to close out the game in the seventh to get the save.
"He (Kaleb) battled, he got command of his curve ball later and he kept us in it," Andy Mikesell said. "Cole came on in a tough spot, second and third with one out. He let both those runs in, but that's a tough situation. That was his first time on the mound in a varsity game ever. Overall, he did well. Jimmy does what Jimmy does - he came in and shut the door."
Both teams are back in action today. Celina hosts Marion Local and Fort Recovery hosts Lincolnview.
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