By Gary R. Rasberry
Celina overcame a sluggish start to post its fourth straight win in a 5-3 victory over Fort Recovery in county ACME action at Eastview Park.
The Bulldogs improve to 7-5 on the season. Fort Recovery, hampered by injuries and players missing due to other considerations, drops to 0-5.
Celina stayed in the game after Fort Recovery took a 2-0 lead after the first innings thanks to the pitching of Cody Koesters. Koesters shook off the two runs he gave up by limiting the Indians to just two hits over the next five innings, striking out four and walking one in that stretch.
"I thought Koesters pitched a heckuva ballgame after the first inning," said Celina coach Ron Fortkamp. "He pitched real good after that."
Meanwhile, Tribe starter Brad Fortkamp had Celina's number, only allowing one walk through the first three innings and striking out four strikeouts. "I don't know if it's the last name or not, but Fortkamp is a nice pitcher," said coach Fortkamp --who is related to the Indians pitcher -- with a grin. "That's twice we faced him and we struggled both times. Obviously, it's in the name."
Celina finally got on track in the fourth as Garrett Gray singled to lead off the inning. Kiel Hawk followed with a long double to left, scoring Gray for the first run. Darren Fleck moved Hawk to third with a groundout and Hawk later scored on a wild pitch. Eric Braun walked and moved to second on a passed ball. Jordan Heuker grounded out but Doug Vorhees singled home Braun with to give Celina the lead. Nick Gray walked to load the bases for Joe Roberts. Brad Fortkamp threw three straight balls before getting a strike, but the fifth pitch was high and Roberts went to first as Vorhees scored. Fort Recovery coach Brian Happy called on Dan Heitkamp to stop the bleeding. Heitkamp got Garrett Gray to ground out to third for the final out.
"He wanted the ball again. There isn't many arms on the staff tonight," said Happy. "Last week we fought with Mother Nature, this week we're fighting with basketball camp. Tonight (Continued from page 6)
we were fighting for a driver old enough to drive the younger players here. It was really go to see the effort they put out against a team like Celina, who's on a roll.
"Brad ran out of strikes. I thought it was best to bring Dan in."
Koesters rolled into the seventh, getting Scott Hein to pop out to third for the first out. Pinch-hitter Troy Dilworth walked and Chris Galdeen singled. Matt Hein walked to load the bases for Kevin Schoenherr, but Koesters got the second out by getting the strikeout.
The joy settled with Steven Trobridge singled home Dilworth to make it 5-3. Coach Fortkamp called on Andy Waesch to close things out. Waesch responded, getting Heitkamp to ground to Braun at third, who tagged a passing Matt Hein for the third out.
Even with the win, coach Fortkamp did not think the players looked overly sharp.
"I don't know what to say. I didn't think we played very good ball," said coach Fortkamp. "I think we're lucky to come away with the win. Things weren't sharp. Sometimes you have to win these (games). Fort Recovery didn't have their whole team here. They came out and were ahead for four innings and battled. They did a heckuva job."
Garrett Gray led Celina with a 2-for-4 game. Galdeen and Trobridge each had two hits for Fort Recovery.
Celina retruns to action today in hosting St. Marys for a Noon doubleheader. Parkway returns to action on Monday to play Parkway.