NEW BLOOMFIELD — The New Bloomfield baseball team had energy on the basepaths for Senior Night, as the Wildcats defeated the Calvary Lutheran Lions 8-2.
The Wildcats had a couple of three-run innings to distance themselves from the Lions as five of their players either scored a run or drove in a run, including seniors Dylan Brenneke and Breycin Dysart.
New Bloomfield coach Justin Forsythe said his team created some havoc on the basepaths from the very first batter, when Brenneke was hit by a pitch and was able to come around to score after moving around the bases on a passed ball, a flyout and then a single by Lucas Buscher.
"We're going to take first base anyway that we can," Forsythe said. "At that point, you're going to put pressure on a pitcher and run a little bit to put some pressure on everybody else defensively. We were able to do that tonight."
The chaos continued after Buscher advanced to third on a throwing error. Dysart walked and then stole the first of four bases for the Wildcats, leading to a second-and-third situation for Ashton Schuster. The runners advanced on another passed ball, with Buscher scoring and Dysart advancing to third. Dysart came in to score on a single by Schuster, making the score 3-0 after one inning.
Forsythe said he liked having that early cushion after a scoreless first inning pitched by Schuster.
"If you can score first and put some pressure on the defense and see how they're going to react, that's going to be a big thing," Forsythe said. "For us tonight, we put them in a hole and they tried to fight out of it but couldn't."
Calvary Lutheran coach Rusty Bourg said the score could have been closer if his team was able to eliminate a few of those miscues. The Lions had four of the game's seven errors.
Calvary Lutheran's Alex Procter allowed only four hits but also hit two batters and walked four.
"We have a hard time putting seven innings together," Bourg said. "Every once in a while we do and we really play well. Every once in a while, we fall apart for an inning or two and the next thing you know, we're behind by five or six runs. It seems like once we start throwing the ball around, it takes us like two innings to get it under control again."
Calvary Lutheran allowed one run in the next three innings as New Bloomfield junior Michael Saleny, who went 2-for-3, drove one of this two runs in the third inning after he stole a base. The Lions were able to get that run back in the fifth inning off Saleny, who took over on the mound for Schuster after four innings. Schuster allowed no hits and one walk and struck out seven.
Calvary Lutheran senior Morgan Allen, who went 1-for-4, was able to lead off the fifth inning with a single. Junior Jonathan Lieb, who went 1-for-3, hit into a fielder's choice, allowing Allen to score, making it 4-1.
Brenneke walked to lead off the bottom half of the inning. He then advanced to second on a stolen base and then to third on a passed ball. Buscher was hit by a pitch, putting runners at the corners.
Brenneke scored on an error and Buscher to advance to second. Buscher moved to third after the ball got away from the catcher with New Bloomfield's Saleny at the plate. Saleny tripled, driving in Buscher, and then scored on a passed ball, giving the Wildcats their second three-run inning to make the score 7-1 after five.
The teams each tacked on one more run in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh.
New Bloomfield's Brenneke scored his third run on an error, while Lieb drove in the final run for Calvary Lutheran.
Bourg said the Lions have to keep their emotions under control and refocus quicker so they don't let innings get away from them.
"I think it's just mostly mental," Bourg said. "You've got to refocus and go back to the physical skills you have and stay focused."
Forsythe was impressed by the team's pitching, starting with Schuster and then Saleny, who combined to allow one earned run and two walks while striking out 11.
"For us, it starts with pitching." Forsythe said. "Those two guys on the mound did a great job."
Forsythe said his team still needs to bring energy leading into the rest of their schedule and the district tournament. He also said the three seniors honored tonight, along with the school's other spring athletes, are a big reason why he thinks the team can make a late-season run.
"We're putting ourselves in a position to make run here in postseason," he said. "Those three step up and do some big things for us. I like our chances in couple weeks when district time starts."
New Bloomfield (7-6) plays Wednesday at Class 4 No. 3 Southern Boone.
Calvary Lutheran (5-7) plays Thursday at Jamestown.