Top-seeded Newark Catholic was able to outlast Cardington in the Division IV district final baseball game hosted by Mount Vernon Nazarene University Wednesday evening by a 4-2 margin.
The Pirates led 2-1 after getting two in the top of the third, but couldn’t cross home plate after that inning. The Green Wave tied it in their half of the third and then tallied runs in the fifth and sixth innings to edge the Pirates, ending their season with a 13-13 mark.
“They fought hard,” said Pirate coach Ryan Goetzman of his team. “I can’t ask for much more. I’m beyond happy. If you asked us in February and March where we’d be, I don’t know if I’d say here.”
Goetzman was especially pleased with his freshman battery of pitcher Wyatt Wade and catcher Logan Reynolds for their performance against a powerhouse team.
“We had a freshman on the mound and freshman at catcher; what more do you say?” said the coach. “Those two went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in Ohio.”
After falling behind 1-0 after a Green Wave run in the second inning, Cardington put together a strong third inning to take the lead. After Caden Dewitt reached on an error, a single by Kaiden Beach put runners on second and third. Journey Williamson moved them up a base with a sacrifice bunt and Joe Denney was walked to load the bases with one out.
A.J. Hall followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game. Then, with two outs, a single by Wade gave the Pirates the lead.
Unfortunately, the Green Wave would get out of the inning with the Pirates stranding three runners. They would then take advantage of a hit and a pair of balks issued to Wade to tie the game at 2-2 in their half of the inning.
While the Pirates got a single by Dewitt in the fourth inning and another by Williamson in the fifth, they would not be able to turn those hits into runs.
Miscues would hurt the Pirates again in the bottom of the fifth, as an error put a Newark Catholic player on second base. After a bunt moved him to third, he would score on a wild pitch to give the Green Wave the lead again.
Nate Hickman would single for the Pirates in the top of the sixth with two outs, but he would be left on first. Newark Catholic would then string together a couple hits in their half of the inning to increase their lead to a 4-2 count.
In their final inning, the Pirates got their leadoff hitter on, as Dewitt reached second base after his ground ball led to a throwing error by the Green Wave. However, NC would get a pair of strikeouts before inducing a pop-up to end the game and the Cardington season.
Goetzman felt his young team — which only will graduate two seniors in Denney and Hickman — did what it had to do to stay in the game.
“You have to give yourself a puncher’s chance and we did,” he said. “We just came up a little short. (Newark Catholic) Coach (John) Cannizzaro’s been here a long time and he said, ‘We’ll see you here again’. One thing you can say about these guys is they’re gritty.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS