BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Senior Austin Pauken struck out six batters from the mound and posted three hits from the plate, while leading the Maumee baseball team to an 11-1 victory over visiting Springfield last Friday.
“Austin is a gritty guy and he’s a competitor,” said Maumee baseball coach Todd Ery. “I didn’t know what we were going to get from him on the mound coming into this season, but he really stepped up when we were down in Myrtle Beach and he’s swinging the bat very well. He’s a guy that’s going to go out and compete for seven innings every time and he’s going to give us a chance to win baseball games when he’s on the mound.”
After forcing the Blue Devils to strand first baseman Tristan Todorowski (reached on an error) and second baseman Matt Christoffers (walk) on first and third in the top of the game’s opening inning, Pauken singled and stole a base to lead off the bottom of the frame.
Junior shortstop Zach Marvin and senior first baseman Evan Barker next loaded the bases by reaching on a walk and an error, allowing senior designated hitter Justin Matcham to plate the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly.
Both teams left a runner on base in the second stanza, but the Panthers broke things wide open with a seven-run third.
Maumee sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning and got two singles from junior centerfielder Caden Brook-shier, a Pauken double and additional singles by senior catcher Justin Key and classmate and rightfielder Tyler Faulkner.
“We’re really looking for somebody to step up in the No. 2 hole,” Ery said. “The kids have had a running joke that the No. 2 hole has been kind of a jinx spot, so it was nice to see Caden hit the ball well today. He’s a tremendous athlete.”
The Panthers also took advantage of a Barker plunking, a walk to senior leftfielder Matt Butler, a fielder’s choice by junior third baseman Michael Henry and a costly Springfield fielding error.
The Blue Devils responded with a trio of fourth-inning singles by pitcher Jacob Heizelman, catcher Dylan Hall and rightfielder Garret Harper, but Pauken eventually ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
Springfield avoided a shutout an inning later when DH Carter McGannon drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second and third on a wild pitch and a Todorowski groundout and scored on a two-out Heizelman double.
The Blue Devils got another single from third baseman Sean Jones in the sixth but again failed to convert.
Maumee, on the other hand, started the bottom of the stanza with consecutive singles from senior R.J. Durliat and Pauken.
Marvin moved the runners up two batters later with a groundout, setting the table for a two-run double by Barker.
Now on top 10-1, junior leftfielder Roby Fairchild forced the run rule into effect by following Barker with an RBI single.
Pauken earned the win after allowing just one run on four hits and two walks and also hit a double, scored three runs and knocked two more in.
Brookshier followed by going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI and threw a scoreless inning of relief, as the Panthers improved to 2-6 (1-2 in Northern Lakes League play) on the year.
“It’s one of those things where we’ve played some incomplete baseball games and just couldn’t finish,” Ery said. “I challenged the guys a little bit yesterday to try and put together a full baseball game and they showed up yesterday and were sharp, so I challeneged them again today. I said, ‘Now it’s a league game and we have to do it when it really means something,’ and they stepped up again. We were able to get the bats going a little bit, which was nice to see.”
The left-handed Heizel-man took the loss after surrendering six earned runs on six hits and four walks. He also struck six batters out and led Springfield with a 2-for-3 batting performance that included a double and an RBI.
MHS 11, Bowsher 0
The Panthers notched their third win just a day earlier with another 11-run performance against Bowsher.
“We’re really trying to find out who we are as a baseball team, and when you get two wins in a row, you start to trust one another a little bit and believe in what we’re working toward,” Ery said.
Maumee scored a run in the bottom of the first inning and added three more in the third before exploding for seven in the fourth frame.
Marvin led all batters on the day by going 3-for-3 and collecting a double, two runs, four RBI and a stolen base.
Pauken (walk, two runs, RBI, stolen base) and Faulkner (walk, sacrifice, RBI, stolen base) added two hits each and sophomore Caleb Loboschefski (run, RBI, stolen base) joined Barker (HBP, run), Brookshier (HBP, run) and Key (RBI) with additional Panthers hits.
Sophomore Dylan Hamil-ton earned the win for Maumee after allowing just four hits and a walk, while striking out seven Rebels batters over five innings.
BG 10, MHS 0
The Panthers only trailed host Bowling Green 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning of an April 10 contest that the Bobcats ended up winning, 10-0.
Bowling Green rallied for three runs in the fifth before forcing the run rule after a six-run sixth.
Micah Fry led the Bobcats offense on the day with three hits – including a double – two runs and an RBI, Nick Foster added two hits, two runs, two RBI and three stolen bases and former Panther Peyton Beaverson contributed a hit, a walk, a run and two RBI.
Diegel managed two of Maumee’s three hits and Pauken posted the other.
Luke Roberts earned the win with six shutout innings and Henry took the loss after surrendering three earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking three batters out over five innings.
Napoleon 3, MHS 2
The Panthers’ week began with a 3-2 extra-inning loss to visiting Napoleon on April 8, after the Wildcats plated the winning run in the top of the eighth inning.
Napoleon’s hits were distributed equally among six different players.
Landon Willeman led the way with a double and two runs and Jacob Smith hit a solo home run.
Barker, Brookshier (walk, RBI), Henry (walk, run) and Marvin (home run, RBI) managed Maumee’s four hits.
Willeman also earned the win for the Wildcats after allowing that one run on those three hits and three walks and struck out an impressive 15 batters in the complete-game performance.
Butler started for the Panthers and surrendered just one earned run on three hits and two walks and struck seven out before Pauken took the unfortunate loss by allowing one run on three eighth-inning hits.