BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee tried to scratch and claw its way back into its Northern Lakes League baseball game at Anthony Wayne last week, but the Panthers fell 13-3 in five innings.
The Panthers scored a run in the third and added two in the fourth, but AW put runs on the board in every inning, outhitting Maumee, 13-2. The game also saw nine errors.
Garret Pike led Anthony Wayne, going 4-for-4 with a solo home run to center field in the first, an RBI double to right field in the second, an infield hit in the third and an RBI double in the fourth.
In the second inning, AW scored seven runs on six hits and took advantage of two Maumee errors, plus they left the bases loaded.
Generals pitcher Dom Carlson got the win, allowing no hits over three innings, but the Panthers scored a run thanks to Ayden McCarthy and Caden Brown reaching base on two errors in the third.
Carlson struck out two and walked none, and classmate Jack Behnfeldt followed, striking out two, walking two and allowing no earned runs and just one hit – a single to left field by Logan Phillips.
Phillips and Brayden Meeks, who reached on a walk, both scored thanks to two more errors by AW.
Spencer Stack closed for the Generals in the fifth, striking out one and allowing one hit – a single by Caleb Loboschefski.
Drew Burliat took the loss for Maumee and Dylan Riley pitched in relief, each going 2.1 innings on the mound.
Left-handed batter Alex Gerken hit a home run to left field off Riley to open the fifth. He said he has homered during youth baseball, but this was his first in a varsity game.
“It was a fastball up and in, chest high, and I tried to put a swing on it,” Gerken said. “It felt pretty good.”
“We have some good hitters on this team, but his swing is as good a swing as anybody swinging on the team,” added AW coach Mark Nell.
“He can really hit it, so I’m really happy for him. He’s the nicest, hardest-working kid we’ve got.”
Gerken was 2-for-2 and reached on all four plate appearances, including twice on walks and once on an error.
Conner Holck went 3-for-4 with two RBI and Evan Ruhe was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI.
Marco Morrison was 2-for-2 with a double and Noah Sample and Logan Garrett also had base hits for Anthony Wayne.
Saneholtz stole two bases and Sample, Ruhe and Anderson swiped one each. Morrison put down a sacrifice bunt in the second but still reached on an error and scored.
Nell took Carlson out after three innings to save the sophomore hurler for four games that were scheduled over the next three days.
“It’s not easy and people ask, ‘Well, why did he take Dom out?’ He was under 50 pitches and he could come back and throw for us Friday or Saturday – whatever we needed,” Nell said.
“We have not played a lot and we have pitchers who have not thrown a lot, like Behnfeldt. That is the first time Behnfeldt has thrown (for varsity) since last summer.
“That kid has got a good arm. Unfortunately, we did not play very well behind him and he lost a couple guys (walks), but he can be real good. He throws a heavy ball.”
Nell says there’s a strategy behind who pitches when, and it is not always what it appears when there are pitch counts involved.
“I wanted to get some people’s feet wet,” he said. “When you have a guy like Dom who is throwing that well it’s hard to take him out.
“You’re trying to think about the whole team and you’ve got a game the next day and you’ve got one Friday and then a doubleheader on Saturday. It’s nice to have those guys.”
When the Generals scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 10-run margin, it caught Nell by surprise.
“I was hoping the game would go seven innings because I was going to throw two more guys,” he said, “so I’m sitting there thinking I didn’t realize the game was over when we had the 10-run lead. I had another pitcher ready, but that’s a good problem to have.”
AW, which finished the week 17-2 and 9-0 in the NLL and is ranked second in the state Division I poll, has a game scheduled every weekday this week.
The Generals played Southview on Monday, Springfield on Tuesday, Bowling Green on Wednesday and then will travel to Mercy Field to take on Central Catholic at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
On Friday, AW will host Springfield in a contest scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Maumee, 6-12 (2-7) also had a busy week scheduled. The Panthers traveled to Perrysburg on Monday, hosted Ottawa Hills on Tuesday and played Northview on Wednesday.