By Ryan Hines
Celina broke open a tight game by taking advantage of a four-error inning by Parkway as the Bulldogs picked up a 7-3 win over the Panthers on Thursday afternoon at Eastview Park.
With the score tied 2-2 entering the fourth inning, a defensive mistake gave Celina the go-ahead run.
Celina had the bases loaded with just one out when Caleb Byrley hit a rocket down the third-base line which was gloved by Parkway third baseman Ryan Berry. Berry quickly fired home for an out and Panthers catcher Jordan Thompson then tried to turn the doubleplay at first base to get the Black and Gold out of the inning unscathed.
The problem for the Panthers was that Thompson's throw to first hit Byrley in the helmet and ricocheted down the right-field line scoring the go-ahead run.
Parkway's defensive miscues broke the game open in the fifth inning. Celina's Garrett Gray reached base via a walk to leadoff the inning and was then followed by Eric Braun who reached on a routine groundball which turned into two errors putting runners at second and third with no outs.
Scott Luthman then stepped to the plate and hit a two-run double to the left-field fence scoring both Gray and Braun to give Celina a 5-2 advantage.
The third Parkway error of the inning allowed Luthman to advance to third base before Kiel Hawk drove him home with a sacrifice fly giving the Bulldogs a commanding 6-2 lead.
"Celina is going to put the ball into play and put pressure on the defense but once again we kicked the ball around and you can't give Celina more than three outs an inning," said Parkway head coach Eric Stachler. "When a good team like Celina gets extra outs, they will make you pay. We have to cut down on our errors and help out our pitchers. There's no reason to throw the ball around like we did a couple of times today."
Following a tough first inning when Celina starting pitcher Joe Clouse was roughed up for two runs and four hits, the junior righthander settled down and one more run and three hits over the next five innings of work. Clouse, who is now 4-0 on the season, wasn't overpowering by any means on the hill but instead just continued to pound the strike zone and relied on the Bulldogs defense, which didn't commit an error in the game.
"The Clouse kid just threw strikes and let their defense take care of the rest," stated Stachler. "The first inning we stayed back on him and we got four hits and two runs but from that point on we were off-balanced at the plate and their defense never gave us any extra outs in any inning."
"Of all of our pitchers Joe worked harder than any of them," admitted Clouse. "He throws strikes and we played good defense to back him up. Every time that we've run him on the mound he's given us a quality start. We were looking for five out of him tonight and he ended up working six strong innings for us. He just kept battling."
Braun closed out the scoring for Celina with a solo home run in the sixth inning while Parkway collected its three runs on RBI singles from Thompson and Steve Hays in the first inning and a run-scoring single by Ian Unger in the sixth frame.
Celina is back in action today on the road at Ottawa-Glandorf for a Western Buckeye League contest while Parkway battles Delphos St. John's in a matchup of unbeatens in the Midwest Athletic Conference.