Cougars drop heartbreaker to Bath in extra innings, 3-2
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 12:00 AM
By Daniel Joseph
Ryan Stoller takes a swing and grounds a ball to the left side during Van Wert’s 3-2 loss to Bath on Tuesday evening. Stoller went 0-for-3 in the game. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Times Bulletin Correspondent
VAN WERT — In a game that took nearly four hours filled with lots of rain, wind and lightening, the Van Wert Cougars came up short in WBL action with the Bath Wildcats, falling 3-2 in extra innings.
Nate Stoller started off the game for the Cougars in a great way with a four pitch strikeout and only allowing a single. It was a different story for Bath ace Taren Sullivan though.
Sullivan walked the first batter he faced, Justice Tussing, on a 3-2 pitch and Tussing then advanced to second on a Nate Stoller sacrifice bunt. Tussing moved to third when Brant Henry singled to the outfield.
Henry then attempted to steal second but was thrown out. On the play, however, Tussing stole home while the second basemen wasn’t looking, scoring the first run of the game.
Stoller had four strikeouts in his first two innings of work against the Wildcats, including striking out the side in the second. Bath started hitting Stoller in the third inning as Eric Heffner and Eric Jordan had singles. That’s all they got though as Colin Gossard flew out to left field to end the inning.
“He (Stoller) is definitely our bulldog,” said Cougar head coach Charlie Witten. “You know whenever he’s on the mound that we’re going to be in the game and that’s what you want out of kid like that. That’s what he gives us so we just have to do a better job executing.”
Bath managed to get its first hit in two innings on a Bronson Best single. Best then advanced to second on an Andrew Renner sacrifice bunt and scored when Heffner hit a single to deep left field.
Taren Sullivan managed to get the first two batters of the fifth inning to strike out looking before Nate Stoller came up and hit a line drive to the outfield to become a two-out base runner. Brant Henry was next up to bat, but a lightning strike after just one pitch delayed the game for one hour and eighteen minutes.
After the delay was finally lifted, Bath made a pitching change and brought in Jordan. Before he even threw a pitch to Henry, he overthrew the ball on a pick-off move to first, advancing Stoller all the way to third.
Stoller then scored on a bad throw from the right fielder and the Cougars took a 2-1 lead before a pitch had been thrown after the delay. Henry struck out to end the fifth inning.
As the sixth inning began, Jordan took the first pitch to deep right field and legged-out a double. Colin Gossard served the next pitch to the outfield and Jordan came in to score to tie the game at two. Nate Stoller got the next two batters to fly out, and Mason Carr then threw out Gossard trying to second for the third out. The Cougars went in order in the bottom half of the sixth.
The Wildcats went in order in the top half of the seventh but the Cougars had something else in mind. Gavin Gardner led the inning off with a single down the left field line, but the next two batters were struck out by Jordan. Tussing then singled to left field, but Stoller grounded out to end the Cougar threat.
Bath brought the top of the order up to the plate to begin the eighth inning. Heffner hit a routine ground ball to third base, but the first basemen was unable to field the throw from third, putting Heffner on with an error. Cam Clark then laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Heffner to second base, and Jordan hit a line drive to the gap in center field which scored Heffner and gave the Wildcats the go-ahead run.
“In crunch time, we had our leadoff batter on in the seventh and a chance to bunt him over but we didn’t get the bunt down,” said Witten. “We had a base hit later that inning that would’ve scored him. Obviously they got a lead-off runner on and they executed and did a better job executing when they needed it, and that was the story of the game.”
The Cougars had the heart of their lineup up first to begin the bottom half of the eighth, but couldn’t make anything happen. The first two batters in the inning struck out and then a grounder ended the game.
The Cougars fall to 7-7 on the season and 2-3 in the WBL. Bath moves to 14-4 overall and 3-3 in the WBL.
Bath 000 011 01– 3 9 2
Van Wert 100 010 00– 2 6 2
Bath: (AB – Runs – Hits – RBI)
Heffner (CF): 4-1-2-1 ; Clark (3B): 3-0-0-0 ; Jordan (1B/P): 4-1-4-1 ; Gossard (DH): 3-0-1-1 Jenkins (C): 4-0-1-0 ; Weis (LF): 3-0-0-0 ; Stahr (RF) – 3-0-0-0 ; Best (2B): 3-1-1-0 ; Renner (2B): 2-0-0-0 Burkholder (PH): 1-0-0-0
Van Wert: (AB – Runs – Hits – RBI)
Tussing (SS): 3-1-1-0 ; N. Stoller (P): 3-1-1-0 ; Henry (LF): 4-0-2-0 ; T. Williams (RF): 4-0-1-0 R. Stoller (CF): 3-0-0-0 ; Carr (C): 2-0-0-0 ; Gardner (1B): 2-0-1-0 ; McCracken (3B): 2-0-0-0 E. Williams (DH): 1-0-0-0 ; Braun (DH): 2-0-0-0
2B: Jordan (B) , Jenkins (B), Henry (VW) , T. Williams (VW)
WP: Eric Jordan – 3.1 IP, 1 Run, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BB’s, 6 K’s
LP: Nate Stoller – 8.0 IP, 3 Runs, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BB’s, 7 K’s