By Gary R. Rasberry
The past week for the Celina ACME team has been one where it just seemed like nothing could go wrong.
Every time the Bulldogs got down, they bounced back and ended up on the right end on the scoreboard.
The same was true on Monday as the Bulldogs played a nine-inning game with Eaton at Eastview.
After falling behind by five runs, Celina tied the score with a five-run fifth, took the lead with a three-run sixth and added three more runs over their last two at-bats to beat the Eagles, 11-5.
The victory is the seventh straight for Celina and puts them at 10-5 on the season while the Eagles fall to 2-3-1. Celina's pitching duo of Andy Waesch and Garrett Gray came through with a superior effort. Waesch did allow five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits through the first five innings, but did not walk a batter and struck out six as his team tied the game at 5-all in the bottom of the fifth.
Gray came in for the sixth inning and shut the door on the Eagles, allowing just one hit in the sixth and retiring the final 11 batters of the game, striking out three and walking none.
"I thought Andy pitched well," said Celina coach Ron Fortkamp. "We kept letting him down. We'd let him down and he'd throw a pitch that was a mistake and Eaton would hit it. Then we brought Gray in and he was phenomenal. It was just unbelievable, both of them pitched wonderful (games)."
It took awhile for the Celina bats to get rolling as Eaton starter Jake Johnson allowed just two singles through the first four innings, striking out three and walking one.
In the fifth, Celina's offense woke up. Cody Koesters led off the inning with a single, followed by a Doug Vorhees double.
Nick Gray plated the first Celina run with a single that scored Koesters and Joe Roberts kept the streak going with a single to score Vorhees while moving Nick Gray to third.
After Nick Gray scored on a wild pitch, Garrett Gray was struck by a pitch and went to first. Kiel Hawk grounded deep to short, allowing Roberts to score. Darren Fleck's single scored Garrett Gray to tie the game as Celina sent 10 batters to the plate.
"(Johnson) had a real nice fastball," said Fortkamp. "He just couldn't consistently throw the curve for strikes. That's what got him in trouble. If he did that, things might have been different."
The formula worked again in the sixth as another 10 Celina batters went to the plate. This time, the Bulldogs went to work on reliever Jeremy Fudge, using three Eaton errors to score three runs, only one earned. Celina added two more runs in the seventh and a final run in the eighth.
The Bulldogs had strong hitting nights up and down the lineup. Roberts, Nick and Garrett Gray and Waesch -- who did not play after the fifth -- each had two hits. The Grays and Hawk each plated two runs with Roberts scoring three runs.
Celina returns to Mercer County ACME action tonight when the Bulldogs host St. Henry at Eastview for a 6:30 p.m. start. Wednesday's game with Marion Local has been postponed due to a basketball camp. No makeup date has been scheduled.