BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Having won seven straight games, the Anthony Wayne baseball team is on a roll, and it’s the right time of the season to be doing well.
The Generals defeated Southview, 6-2, in Northern Lakes League action last Friday, and as a result they are still in the hunt for a conference title.
“We’re still in it,” said AW coach Mark Nell. “We’re putting it together. I think we’re finding ourselves.”
Nell says having a young team and dealing with the inconsistent spring weather this season have not been helpful.
“I think it helps every team when you get to play baseball on a consistent basis instead of going indoors and stuff (due to weather),” Nell said. “It’s not just us. It’s everybody.
“Getting to play a little bit more now is helping a lot because we are young. We’re young in spots, but we’ve got some veterans out there in some key spots.”
“I feel like we are starting to click well and it comes at a good time with the tournament coming up,” senior Connor Judy added. “And in the NLL, you never know what can happen.”
The Generals, 17-8 overall and 8-4 in the league, were just one game behind Bowling Green and Perrysburg, which have three league losses and makeup games remaining, also.
AW’s chances may not last long, however.
The Bobcats hosted Springfield on Monday and a win would have secured the title, while a loss would open the door for AW, which had games remaining hosting Northview and at Perrysburg on Monday and Tuesday.
No matter what, it was business as usual for the Generals against the visiting Cougars, as AW scored two runs in the first and added four in the third.
Senior Carter Holck went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while senior pitcher Austin Drewes went the distance, striking out one, walking two and allowing seven hits and one earned run.
Another senior, Camron Kottenbrock, got things rolling in the first, reaching on a line drive base hit to right field and then stealing second and third.
After Judy walked, Carter Holck’s base hit scored Kottenbrock and then a sacrifice fly to right field by sophomore Garret Pike scored Judy. It was the first of two sacrifice fly RBI for Pike.
In the third, junior Hogan Heck, Kottenbrock, Judy and Carter Holck all singled and scored with Judy, Carter Holck and Pike getting the RBI. Carter Holck scored on an error by the Southview centerfielder.
Drewes and Shane Williams also had base hits for Anthony Wayne, and Heck had a stolen base in the fourth.
Defensively, the Generals made no errors and three solid defensive plays by the infielders led to a one-two-three fifth inning.
“They looked good,” Judy said. “I think they are definitely coming together because early in the year they were young and inexperienced.
“They played really well today and I think they have the last couple games, actually.”
First, second baseman Conner Holck snagged a line drive, then after Southview’s Nate Harshman singled, Drewes used his patented pick-off move to get him leaning at first base.
Then, on a tough-to-handle grounder to first baseman Carter Holck, Drewes wasted no time in getting to first, and Carter made a perfectly timed toss to throw out Bailey Wietrzykowski.
In addition, Conner Holck was involved in nine tough plays and did not make a mistake, snagging some hard-hit balls that often get into the outfield.
“He can play,” Nell said. “He’s a good outfielder, too. He can play about everywhere.
“The (Jacob) Potkanowicz kid plays second and I was going to put him in to play defense the last inning as a defensive replacement, and I said, ‘Jake, I can’t take the kid out. He’s in too good of a rhythm right now.’ Jake would have made those plays, too.”
For Southview, Parker McClure had the game’s only extra-base hit, a double in the fourth, but he did not score.
Michael Melville was 2-for-3, Nick Harshman was 2-for-2 and reached three times but did not score and Wietrzykowski and Nick Rogenski also recorded hits.
Melville started on the mound for the Cougars and gave up eight hits and five earned runs in six complete innings, striking out two and walking one.