By Marc Tobias
Celina’s baseball team was able to start its season on a nice note by knocking off Piqua by a comfortable 15-5 score in six innings.
The Bulldog bats didn’t look rusty despite Tuesday’s matchup being their first game of the season as Celina spread out 16 hits and saw nine players drive in at least one run while another 10 Bulldogs crossed the plate at least once.
“Obviously I’m very pleased with the way we played, to score 15 runs right out of the shute is tremendous offensive production,” said Celina coach Bruce Boley. “I also thought we played some solid defense especially since we haven’t been fortunate enough to play in any scrimmages because they were all rained out.”
Celina’s hit parade started in the first inning when Scott Boley hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the season. Boley finished by going 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI.
The Bulldogs went up 4-1 in the second when a Doug Vorhees double plated Brad Niley, who also started on the mound for Celina. Brian Gagle then doubled home Vorhees.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more in the third for a 6-3 lead and another two in the fourth inning for an 8-3 advantage.
“Our pitchers were getting the ball up in the zone and they’re a good hitting team,” said Piqua coach Ty Welker. “When you can’t locate the ball well against a good hitting team it can be a long day, but it’s early in the season and I’m confident that our pitchers will rebound.”
Celina broke the game wide open in the fifth inning when Niley, Garrett Gray and Kyle Anderson hit consecutive singles to leadoff the rally.
Gagle then reached on an error and Eric Braun hit a two-run single to plate the third and fourth runs of the inning. Sean Boley drove in the last run in the fifth with a single of his own en route to a 2-for-3 day with a run scored and a RBI.
Bruce Boley said he felt his team was ready at the plate despite it being the first look his squad has had at live pitching this year.
“We’ve been throwing at each other in the cages to get some good looks,” said Bruce Boley “We had eight or nine kids with RBIs, and that’s what we need to have to be successful this season. We know what we’re going to get from the top of the lineup, but if we can get the bottom of the lineup to produce like they did today then we could have a good year.”
Celina tacked its final two runs in the sixth when Braun doubled home Anderson who was hit by a pitch and Gagle who reached on a bunt single.
Braun had the biggest offensive day for Celina as he went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBI.
Niley just missed picking up the win for Celina as he went 3 2/3 innings allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits. Niley did have a nice day at the plate, though, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and RBI.
Brian Geise picked up the win after relieving Niley in the fourth, and Geise also fared well at the plate going 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI.
Ryan Karn picked up the loss for Piqua as he allowed eight runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Cody Oakes had the biggest day at the plate for Piqua by going 2-for-3 on a home run and double to knock in three runs.
Piqua falls to 0-2 on the season while Celina stands at 1-0.
The ‘Dogs return to action when they host Parkway on Thursday.