By Marc Tobias
The bats weren't as loud as normal for Celina, but some aggressive baserunning helped the Bulldogs pick up a 4-3 non-league win over Lima Senior on Monday at Eastview Park.
Celina surrendered a 3-2 lead in the top half of the seventh inning when Lima Senior pinchhitter Ryan Seech was able to bring home Partrick O'Neil for the tying run with an RBI single. O'Neil doubled to start the inning.
It was then up to Spartans freshman pitcher, Matt Beggin, to try and close out the game against what is normally a high-powered Bulldogs attack. Beggin was solid through the first six innings, though, holding Celina to just five hits while striking out six Bulldog batters.
The Spartan frosh allowed a walk to Jordan Heuker to start the bottom half of the seventh, and then Joey Roberts was inserted to pinch run. Roberts then stole second base to put the winning run in scoring position, one of six steals the Bulldogs had in the game.
Roberts then advanced to third base with no outs when Lima Senior catcher Jason Fisher made an errant throw to second base in an attempt to pick off Roberts. The Spartans were then forced to bring their infield in on the grass to try and cut the potentially winning run at the plate.
Beggin got the first out of the inning when he was able to strike out Brian Gagle, thus bringing Eric Braun to the plate.
Braun was able to hit a ground ball to the left side of the diamond where Lima Senior shortstop Zach Marshall made a diving grab, and Marshall quickly fired the ball home to try and get Roberts at the plate. Marshall's throw was in time but Fisher was unable to hold on to the ball allowing Roberts to score and giving Celina a 4-3 win.
"That winning run, I'm yelling back, back, back, and the kid takes off and we just got a break with the catcher dropping the ball," said Celina coach Bruce Boley. "A lot of times when you have success as a program those things can tend to happen, you'll get a break here or there to help your team win. We'll take that 'W' and hopefully learn from it.
"Lima Senior came in here and just battled, and just did a whale of a job, to be honest with you they deserved to win the ball game," Boley added. "Hat's off to them, that kid they had on the mound was only a freshman and he kept us off-balance, he just did a real nice job for them so they're to be commended."
The Spartans took an early 2-0 lead behind two hits and an error in the second inning, but Celina got one back in the bottom of the second when Jordan Heuker scored from third base on a passed ball.
Sean Boley was able to single home brother Scott Boley in the fourth for a 2-2 tie, after Scott had singled and stole second base to start the inning.
Celina took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Brian Gagle reached on an error, and then stole second and third base for two of his three steals in the game.
Scott Boley, who finished by going 2-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI, then drove home Gagle with a single to centerfield.
From there Beggin and Celina starter Kyle Anderson did a nice job slowing down the opposing offensive attacks.
Anderson's performance was especially important in what is a very big week for the Bulldogs. Anderson went 6 1/3 innings with just six hits allowed to help keep the 'Dogs remaining pitchers fresh.
"With Defiance tomorrow and tournament on Thursday and going to Wapak on Friday, those are three big games and we need 21 innings of pitching yet," Bruce Boley said. "We have Brian Gagle, Brian Geise, Brad Niley and Scott Boley and those will be our main four in the next three ball games, so hopefully between the four of them we'll be able to get 21 innings of ball and be ready to compete."
Braun picked up the win for Celina against Lima Senior by getting the last two batters in the top half of the seventh inning.
"We've played well against some good teams and we played Celina tough tonight, that was a freshman out there on the mound and he did a heck of a nice job. We just made a physical mistake at the end of the game, but you can't put the blame on the catcher in that situation," said Lima Senior coach Jim Hay.
Celina improves to 18-4 and hosts Defiance today while Lima Senior falls to 5-11.