BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — The Perrysburg baseball team hosted a “wild and crazy” game against Anthony Wayne for the Northern Lakes League championship on May 17.
The nine-inning, 22-hit contest was enough to stress out any ballplayer or coach.
The game had its twists and turns, but the Generals scored five runs in the top of the ninth and then held on to defeat the Yellow Jackets, 10-7, in extra innings.
Both teams came into the game with just one league loss, but AW finished the week 23-4 overall and 13-1 in league play to earn the outright NLL title.
Senior pitcher Ty Roder was on cruise control through five innings, not allowing a run as the Generals built a 5-0 lead.
Perrysburg scored one in the sixth, however, and then rallied for four more in the seventh to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
“It was crazy,” said AW coach Mark Nell. “Ty was pretty much in control of the game and then they got around to the third and fourth time to him and they put some pretty good swings on him.
“He dropped a little velocity and that’s what a good team does is they just try to hang in there and Perrysburg is a great team.
“In 21 years, that doesn’t surprise me because everybody says that was the wildest game ever and we have had at least a dozen of them.”
Roder went seven innings, throwing 121 pitches, including 81 for strikes, but did not get a decision. He struck out 11, walked three and allowed seven hits and four earned runs.
In the bottom of the seventh, however, T.J. Takats doubled on a line drive to right field, scoring Ryan Thompson and Andy Boros.
Then Ben Robeson singled on a ground ball to center, scoring Luke Price, who was running for Takats. That tied the game at five runs apiece.
Robeson advanced to second on the throw trying to get Price and then Nick Disalle came in to run for Robeson.
Disalle advanced to third on a wild pitch and could have scored the eventual winning run. Roder did what he had to do to keep the game going.
Roder struck out Connor Walendzak swinging on four pitches and then got Cam Darrington to fly out to AW leftfielder Marco Morrison.
“The thing Ty did is they had the bases loaded with one out and the winning run at third base, so he got a pop-up and a strikeout at a pretty crucial time,” Nell said.
“That was gutsy. Then Garret (Pike) got the job done.”
Pike, who will play next year for The University of Toledo, then threw 32 pitches over the eighth and nine innings, including 18 for strikes, but he got the win.
He struck out two, walked two and allowed two hits and two earned runs, both in the ninth, but it was enough.
“It was crazy. They come out and knocked all of those runs in. They didn’t get the winning run across and I thought, ‘We get a second chance here,’” Pike said.
Evan Ruhe singled to center in the top of the ninth and then Noah Sample bunted but reached on an error. Then Logan Garrett sacrifice bunted, advancing Ruhe and Sample.
Morrison walked to load the bases and Conner Holck walked, scoring Ruhe. Evan Anderson hit a sac fly to center, scoring Michael Kuhar, who was running for Sample.
Pike singled on a ground ball to left field, scoring Morrison. The final two runs scored when Alex Gerken hit a line drive to center, putting AW up 10-5.
“We almost lost, but we got an opportunity and we took advantage of it,” Pike said. “It showed some grit.
“It was a tough win. They came back to stay in it, stay engaged and not give up, and it was nice that we stayed engaged.”
Pike also led AW at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Saneholtz was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Gerken was 2-for-5 with two RBI, Ruhe was 2-for-4 and Anderson had a double and an RBI.
For Perrysburg, Darring-ton was 2-for-5, Walendzak, Kanyon Gagich, Takats and Boros had doubles and Hudson Smith, Thompson and Robeson all singled.
Noah English started on the mound for the Yellow Jackets, striking out eight, walking five and giving up five runs and six hits over 5.2 innings.
Thompson pitched 2.1 innings in relief, striking out two, walking none and allowing four hits but no runs.
Darrington took the loss, closing in the ninth and walking three and allowing three hits and five runs.