DELAWARE – The Olentangy Berlin and Delaware Hayes baseball teams slugged out a combined 25 runs on 26 hits Wednesday night — a game the the Bears won on a walk-off.
But the pitchers starred in the rematch at Hayes’ Fouts-Wood Field and Adam Wallace and the Bears emerged with a 3-2 victory to close out the regular season and OCC-Cardinal play Friday night.
Wednesday’s game featured seven pitchers and over 320 pitches compared to Friday’s effort, which took two pitchers with one throwing 90 pitches and the other 88.
Seven different players had multiple hits in Wednesday’s contest and three of them had three hits apiece compared to just one player with two hits Friday.
Berlin coach Mike Weaver had a simple explanation for the discrepancy.
“I think we both threw better pitchers,” he said. “On Wednesday, it was our third game in three nights. So, once we got past (our starters) – it was like, ‘Who has last at-bat?’”
Wallace showed no effect of a shortened warm-up after a late Berlin arrival delayed the start by about a half an hour.
“My pitches were on (in the bullpen) and I was locating everything,” he said. “When I got to the mound – I was feeling good.”
He went through an abbreviated pre-game routine and set down the first six batters and nine of the first 10 batters of the game, issuing only a walk to lead off the third inning.
Wallace came through at the plate in the fourth with an RBI single for Berlin, which was held to one hit to that point by Hayes starter Jacob Molina.
The Bears got to Molina for four hits in the fourth inning. Mitch Herbst and Jacob Lewis started the frame with singles before Wallace drove Lewis in with a line-drive double to center to give Berlin the lead.
“Lately, I’ve been out in front a lot,” Wallace said. “So, I’ve been working a lot on staying back and went back-side and moved the runners.”
Wallace’s battery-mate Tyler Euton came through with what turned out to be the game-winner with a two-out, two-run single to push the lead to 3-0.
Hayes responded, however, touching up Wallace for three straight hits to open the bottom half of the fourth.
Molina broke up the no-hitter with a single to left and Zach Price clobbered a two-run homer to straight-away left to pull the Pacers within 3-2.
“(Molina) had a great at-bat – which gives him confidence,” Hayes coach Ryan Montgomery said. “He went back-side and Zach came up and made it a one-run ballgame with one swing of the bat. I know Zach’s capability – he’s had it all four years he’s been here. On Senior Day, I was happy for him to get one like that and I think it really sparked us.”
Alex Kelly followed with a single and took second on a wild pitch. Wallace got a strikeout before another wild pitch moved Kelly to third. But Wallace left him stranded with a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning.
Molina had a little trouble finishing pitches in the early going. But that wasn’t a problem as the game wore on. He set down the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings before an error allowed the lead-off hitter to reach in the seventh. Kelly, Molina’s battery-mate, took care of the baserunner by throwing him out trying to steal.
“Early – it looked like he was having a little bit of trouble controlling his off-speed,” Montgomery said. “But he really seemed to find it in about the (fifth) inning. He was mixing speeds and getting a lot of easy flyouts and roll-over groundouts – which was huge.”
Wallace, meanwhile worked around a pair of hits in the fifth and set down the side in order in the sixth. Euton picked off a baserunner for the second out of the seventh before Wallace finished off his gem with his seventh strikeout.
“I was just missing my spots (in the fourth inning) – missing over the plate,” Wallace said. “But then after that, I just trusted my defense and painted the corners.”
All told, Wallace allowed two earned runs on six hits and a walk in a complete game to get the win for the Bears (14-12, 8-6).
“It was great to see because we’re gonna need him if we want to make a run in the tournament,” Weaver said. “He and Chris Nash are two guys that we’ve relied on all year. We know if we give them the ball – we have a chance. Adam is competitive. I know when he’s out there – he’s going to compete.”
Molina took the hard-luck loss, allowing three earned runs on five hits and a walk and struck out two over seven innings for the Pacers (10-13, 5-9). He was the only player to have two hits at the plate in the game.
“I’m never happy with a loss, but I think we’re in the right spot to make a run in the tournament,” Montgomery said. “Our record is 0-0 come Monday. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
Both teams open up tournament play next. Delaware Hayes, seeded 26th in the Division I district tournament, hosts 46th-seeded Whitehall-Yearling in the first round Monday at 5 p.m.
Berlin is seeded 11th in the Division II tournament and will host 18th-seeded South in the first round Tuesday at 5 p.m.