Cougar ACME blows late lead, steals extra-inning win
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:00 AM
By Nick Johnson
Van Wert’s Brant Henry takes a secondary lead during an ACME game against Elida in this file photo. Henry and the Cougars coughed up a 5-run cushion late in the game versus Shawnee on Tuesday, but won in extra-innings on an Indians error. (DHI Medai/John Parent)
DHI Media Correspondent
VAN WERT — The Van Wert ACME team coughed up a 5-run lead late in the game on Tuesday night, but took home an extra-inning victory over visiting Shawnee at Smiley park. The Cougars used their speed to steal an 7-6 win the home half of the eighth to win their second game in as many days.
With the score knotted at 6-6 in the home half of the eighth, Van Wert’s Mason Carr opened the inning with a double down the left field line. With Jacob Williamson at the plate, Carr broke for third and the throw from the Indian catcher was wide of the bag, sailing into left field. The errors allowed Carr to cruise home with the game-winning run.
“It’s big, we like it,” noted Cougar coach Karlin Dunlap of his team’s walk-off victory. “We had a rough stretch over there in Celina (on Saturday), but it’s good to get back on the winning side. (I’m) proud of the way we played. We looked at lot better on defensive side. We are getting better, improving every day. We were really patient, and we jumped on their pitcher early, which is always good.”
The Cougars got the bats going early, staking themselves to a 2-0 cushion after one. Gavin Gardner singled in the bottom of the first inning, and came around to dent the plate on two straight errors by the Shawnee pitcher. Ryan Stoller and Caleb Fetzer each walked with two outs and Stoller came around to score on a Ryan McCracken RBI single to make the score 2-0.
Shawnee got a run back in the second, as Alex Lehman singled and then stole second. Lehman later scored on an RBI ground out from Jacob Hixenbaugh.
In the bottom of the third inning, with one out, Brant Henry walked and scored on a Stoller RBI double. Stoller would also come around to score on McCracken’s second run-scoring hit of the day to push the Cougar advantage to 4-1.
Van Wert tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning as Stoller doubled and Fetzer reached via the error to put two runners on and two outs for Mason Carr who would double home both runs to give Van Wert a 6-1 lead going into the sixth inning.
The Indians mounted their comeback in the top of the sixth against Fetzer. Shawnee got a lead-off double from Trevor Anderson, who would score on a passed ball later in the frame. Shawnee also used two straight walks from Logan Spieles and Spencer Cardill, followed by RBI singles from Justin Peake and Landon Demoss to make the score 6-5.
Demoss would score on another passed ball to tie the game at six a piece before relief pitcher Josh Braun could get a strikeout to end the inning.
“It wasn’t good to see us blow that lead,” Dunlap lamented. “Fetzer pitched a good game, but since we have five games in five days we left him in a little longer, too long, but that is on us. But I’m very proud of the way these guys hung in there and fought today.”
After an uneventful seventh inning, Shawnee got a leadoff walk from Cardill who eventually made it all the way to third, but Braun was able to strand the runner by retiring three of the next four batters he faced, setting the stage for Carr’s eighth-inning heroics.
The Cougars improve to 4-2 on the season, while Shawnee falls to 2-4.