By Michael Rich
Jacob Young hit a grand slam as a part of a six-run first inning to muscle Big Walnut past host Westerville South 11-1 in five innings on a windy Thursday in Westerville.
“He’s a big, strong kid who swings a big bat,” BW coach Chris Holly said. “He’s been hitting the ball well and he crushed one today.”
“He’s been waiting all year for something like that to happen,” senior centerfielder Nick Moser said. “So, it was incredible to see that happen. It couldn’t be a better person for that to happen to.”
Moser, chasing Matt Figgie’s 32-year-old state record of 170 career stolen bases, swiped five bags to come within one of tying.
“Moser is a game-changer — defensively, offensively and especially on the bases,” Holly said. “That record — in four years — that’s a lot of stolen bases. That’s Ricky Henderson-esque.”
Moser was quite the table-setter in the first inning. He had two hits and three stolen bases in the opening frame, which saw four walks, a hit batter and an error.
“It was nice to be able to go into the second inning with a good, comfortable lead,” Moser said.
Moser said he’s just trying to keep a level head about the record.
“I can’t get a big head because it’s easy to mess up,” he said. “You get a bad jump, you’re out. You just gotta stay steady and stay to the ground. Hopefully, I can get a couple of more and finish it up.”
The Golden Eagles (16-9) only had three hits in the inning, but one of them was Young’s deep fly, which landed safely over the left field wall.
The ball was certainly carrying in the breeze. Dylan Janney smacked a home run in the home half of the first to account for the Wildcats’ only run.
Austin Becker sent a solo shot over the right field wall as part of a three-run third inning that capped the scoring for the Eagles.
“A couple of balls got up in the jet-stream and were able to carry out,” Holly said. “But, it was nice to see the kids get a couple of dingers.”
Moser worked a walk later in the inning and stole second base standing on a pitch out. He snagged third base as well before scoring on an error.
Meanwhile, Henry von Hollen got past the homer in the first to go the distance and get the win for BW. He allowed four hits and three walks and struck out six.
“Henry has stepped up. Right now, he’s throwing as (well) as anyone I’ve seen,” Holly said. “He’s hitting his spots and he’s getting ahead of hitters.”
Connor Oates led the Wildcats (10-15) with two hits and starter Ben Blotner took the loss.
Jakob Evans drove in two runs and Andrew Klamfoth scored three times for the Eagles.
BW travels to Bishop Ready for its final regular season game Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.