Knights move closer to share of Northwest Conference crown
Saturday, May 10, 2014 12:00 AM
By John Parent
Crestview first baseman Jordan Roop follows through in this file photo. Roop went hitless in Crestview’s 3-1 win over Paulding on Friday. The Knights are now 14-6 overall and 5-2 in NWC play. (TB file photo)
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY — The bottom of the Crestview batting order has had its share of struggles this season, but a two-out rally in the second gave the Knights all the cushion they’d need in a 3-1 win over Paulding on Friday evening.
The game was called after four-and-a-half innings due to severe weather in the area. The win moves Crestview to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in Northwest Conference play with one league game left, that against Columbus Grove next Friday. A Knight win over the Bulldogs will earn Crestview a split of the NWC crown.
After working a scoreless first, Paulding sophomore Damon Egnor faced the bottom third of the Crestview order with the bases empty and two outs in the second. A four-pitch walk to shortstop Mitchell Rickard gave the Knights a baserunner and Colby Clifton followed with a base hit just over the first baseman’s head into short right field, allowing Rickard to scamper around to third. Second baseman Brock Rolsten then found a 1-1 fastball to his liking and hit a liner to center field. Paulding’s Corbin Edwards charged hard and made a diving attempt, but the ball skipped past him, bringing two runs in to score.
In the fourth, the Knights found some more two-out magic.
Cam Etzler singled up the middle after reliever Gerod Harder had retired the first two in the frame. Etzler was off and running on the first pitch to Damian Helm and safely swiped second base. Helm then bounced a single through the right side, scoring Etzler with the third Crestview run.
Meanwhile, Helm was in control on the mound for the Knights.
He worked around a pair of errors in the first that had Kyle Kauser standing at third for Paulding before Helm struck out Treston Gonzalez to escape the inning. A 1-2-3 second followed, with the senior southpaw fanning the last two batters of the frame. In the third, a two-out single was all the damage that Paulding could do, and Helm again struck out two in the fourth.
Keeping the Panthers off the scoreboard wasn’t all Helm’s doing, he had plenty of help from his defense, with Rickard making a couple of good plays at short and Jordan Miller turning in two tremendous plays at third. In the first, Miller robbed Javier Gonzalez of a sure hit and likely RBI when he dove to his left to stab a hard-hit ground ball. Miller then pounced to his feet and fired a strike across the diamond to nail the runner at first.
In the third, he made virtually the same play all over again, this time taking a hit away from Edwards.
“The plays that Jordy made down there at third were just super,” Crestview coach Jim Wharton said. “He’s been solid there for us all year.”
The only real threat for Paulding came in the top of the fifth, when Harder jumped on a first-pitch fastball and pulled a single to left. After a failed sacrifice attempt became the first out, Aaron Mock picked on a 2-0 pitch and lined a base hit the other way.
Helm had a chance to work out of the inning, but a potential double-play grounder wound up loading the bases when it was mis-played. Edwards brought a run home with a slow chopper to the left side that Miller cut off, getting the man at first, and Helm finished the inning with a strikeout of Javier Gonzalez.
“That last batter, (Helm) brought it to another gear,” Wharton said. “That was good to see. It shows he still had a lot left in the tank.”
The Knights will take on the winner of Saturday’s New Bremen/Waynesfield-Goshen match-up for the sectional title in Convoy next Wednesday. A win in that game will advance Crestview to the district level, to be played at Coldwater.
Wharton says that Helm will be ready to pitch in the sectional finals.
“The last time out (versus Jefferson on Monday), we got his pitch count up, and that was on purpose. We wanted to get him about 60-70 pitches (tonight) and he was about right at that.”
“His movement is getting a little bit better, he still is having a little difficulty spotting all three pitches,” Wharton said of Helm. “It was a good performance on decent rest. He’ll be ready to go on Wednesday.”
Paulding 000 01- 1 4 3
Crestview 020 1x- 3 5 2
Kauser ss 3-0-1-0, Edwards cf 3-0-0-1, J. Gonzalez rf 3-0-0-0, T. Gonzalez dh 2-0-1-0, Egnor p-1b 2-0-0-0, Johanns 3b 2-0-0-0, Ge. Harder 1b-p 2-0-1-0, Sitton c 2-1-0-0, Mock lf 2-0-1-0
Etzler cf 3-1-1-0, Helm p 3-0-1-1, Roop 1b 3-0-0-0, Owens c 2-0-0-0, Miller 3b 1-0-0-0, Overmyer rf 1-0-0-0, Rickard ss 1-1-0-0, Clifton lf 2-1-1-0, Rolsten 2b 2-0-1-2
LOB- Paulding 5, Crestview 6
SB- Etzler, Owens, CS- Miller
Egnor (L) 3.0 IP 3 H 2 R 2 ER 3 BB 5 K
Ge. Harder 1.0 IP 2 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 1 K
Helm (W) 5.0 IP 4 H 1 R 0 ER 0 BB 6 K