By Gary R. Rasberry
After Friday’s game, Celina coach Bruce Boley said sometimes a good offense can be a good defense.
It also didn’t hurt to have Kyle Anderson on the mound.
Anderson needed just 54 pitches, 41 going for strikes, to get the no-hitter with a 10-0 run-ruled game over New Bremen at Eastview Park.
Celina runs its record to 3-0 with a second-straight shutout and the third straight double-digit run and run-rule game. The Cardinals were playing their first game of the season due to the weather.
Anderson issued one walk over the five innings as three Celina errors put runners on for the Cardinals but only two made it to second base all game. In all, 12 of the 17 batters he faced started out with a strike.
“He only had one walk. His ball-to-strike ratio had to be pretty good,” said coach Boley after the game. “He had a lot of first-pitch strikes and a lot of first-batter outs in the game. Anytime you get that first batter out in an inning, it makes things a lot easier.”
First-year Cardinal coach Justin Firks, a fine pitcher when he was at Coldwater, was impressed.
“He gets ahead early in the count. To be a successful high school pitcher, you have to throw strikes,” said Firks. “He had a decent curve ball and he kept the ball down and got ground balls. That’s what you want for a pitcher.”
Celina got the lead as soon as it got a chance to hit in the bottom of the first inning. Brian Gagle led off with a single. After Eric Braun struck out, Cardinal pitcher Tyler Ranly hit Scott Boley, then Sean Boley with a pitch. Brian Geise came up and saw four straight balls to load the bases for Garrett Gray. Gray grounded a shot to shortstop Josh Ricodedson, who tapped second for the force but threw the relay to first over the fence to bring two runs in. Doug Vorhees came up and doubled home Gray to make it 4-0 before Ranly got out of the inning.
Ranly got through the second fine, thanks to a 6-3-5 double play to take Celina out of a potential scoring opportunity. In the third, though, trouble brewed again as Sean Boley doubled to start the inning. After getting a strike on Geise, Ranly hit the senior on top of the helmet. Geise was not hurt but Firks had seen enough, bringing in Scott McCollum in hopes of getting out of the situation. After Gray sacrificed the runners over, Vorhees singled home both Boley and Geise.
“He had to come out in the first inning and throw strikes,” said Firks of Ranly. “He hit those three guys and he lost his release point. ... It was probably his first varsity start, spring-wise. I told him he’ll bounce back and not to get down.”
Celina got its final set of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Gagle led off with a single. Braun grounded out but Scott Boley doubled home Gagle. Sean Boley brought in his twin with another double to make it 8-0. Geise kept up the two-fer party with a third straight double to bring home Boley, Gray followed with a single and pinch-hitter Caleb Byrley walked to load the bases for pinch-hitter Jason Leist.
Leist lifted a high fly on the infield an the base umpire called for the infield fly rule but the second baseman could not hold on the to the ball. Geise broke home as soon as the ball hit grass for the unusual sacrifice pop-fly.
“Celina is probably one of the best hitting teams we will face all year,” said Firks. “They have a solid team.”
Vorhees finished the day 2-for-2 with three runs batted in. Sean Boley went 2-for-2 with two doubles and Geise had two runs scored and two RBI.
“Needless to say, we’re doing some things offensively,” said coach Boley. “Doug swung through the ball and did very well going the opposite way. Your main job at the plate is to get quality hacks. We talked in the winter. ... The kids might be a little tired of it but you have to hit the pitch where it’s pitched.”
All that was left was for Anderson to try for the no-hitter. Things looked good as Greg McDermitt flew to left for the first out. Craig Eiting followed up with a fly ball to the gap. Gray came over and got the glove on the ball but dropped it, allowing Eiting to reach. Shaun Imwalle came up and grounded to third base. Braun threw out Eiting but the throw to first was late.
Jason Keller followed with a grounder Braun tried to make a play on but bobbled it to keep all runners safe. Anderson took matter into his own hands by striking out Aaron Timmerman for the final out.
Celina hosts Greenville for a doubleheader today at noon.