GALION — Mark Delas did the work at the plate and on the mound for the Galion Graders on Monday afternoon at Heise Park.
The University of Toledo product singled in the game-winning run for Galion and was the winning pitcher in the Graders’ 5-4 victory over the Grand Lake Mariners.
“He looked good on the mound,” said pitching coach Taylore Baker, who, along with bench coach Mike Shepherd, filled in for head coach Ray Neill who was away on Monday. “He’s been swinging the bat well all season. He’s kind of been our guy that’s been in the middle of the order, comes up in pressure situations with Nick Riotto on base. Nick did it again today and Mark got the hit and was able to score Riotto. It was a relief we didn’t go into extra innings.”
A relief, indeed, since Delas was the last of seven pitchers that the Graders used against Grand Lake. Including Delas, three position players made pitching appearances on Monday. Catcher Alexander Malinsky and infielder Tyler Ocker each worked one inning in relief.
Delas went 2-for-4, drove in a pair of runs and stole a base. He held Grand Lake scoreless in the top of the ninth inning, recording one strikeout and one walk.
When Delas stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth, there were two Graders on base and one out. Nick Riotto stood on second and Kevin Shrock was at first after they each hit a single to right field.
With the count at 1-1, Delas drove the third pitch he saw from reliever Nick Roscetti into center field, allowing Riotto to score easily from second and give Galion the win. The laid back Delas said he wasn’t thinking about producing the game-winning hit during the at-bat.
“I was having a good conversation with the catcher (Dalton Bollinger) on their team,” he said. “He actually goes to Toledo. He’s a good buddy of mine. I wasn’t really thinking walk-off hit, I was just looking fastball and got it up the middle.”
Delas said his lone inning on the mound was his first since last fall at Toledo.
“Before I redshirted, I threw an inning or two, but then they just wanted me to hit,” said Delas, who played high school ball at Perrysburg. “I pitched a lot in high school and I thought I was going to pitch in college, but they just wanted me to work on hitting and be an outfielder.”
The big right-hander said he felt at ease entering a tie game in the ninth.
“It felt good. It was a lot of fun,” he grinned. “I’ve been bugging them all year to get me on that mound, so it was nice to finally get out there.
So, what was the strategy for his lone relief appearance of the season?
“Fastball all the way,” Delas said. “I haven’t thrown in a while, so off-speed wasn’t really gonna be there.”
Riotto and Delas combined to score the first run of the game for Galion in the opening inning. Riotto led off with a single to right field, advanced to second on a ground-out by Shrock and stole third. Delas hit a line drive to right field that scored Riotto and gave the Graders a 1-0 lead.
Grand Lake (18-22) took a 2-1 lead in the second thanks to consecutive RBI singles by Matt Smith and Hayden Rappoport. Ricky Sylvestri scored the tying run on Smith’s basehit. Smith gave the Mariners the lead on Rappoport’s single.
Each side scored twice in the third inning, which saw Grand Lake maintain its advantage, 4-3. Brad Boss led off with a single and scored on a double by Roscetti. After moving to third, Roscetti scored on sacrifice fly to left field by Robert Greenman.
Galion (15-22) manufactured its two runs by virtue of a hit batter, two walks, an error and a basehit. Riotto drew a one-out walk and Shrock was hit by a pitch. Riotto stole third and scored on a throwing error by the Grand Lake catcher. Shrock moved to second on the error. Delas followed with a walk. Hunter Clanin singled to left field to drive in Shrock.
Riotto tied the game at four in the bottom of the seventh when he scored his third run of the game. Using a familiar formula, Riotto singled, stole second and moved to third on a ground-out by Shrock. Delas followed with a two-out grounder, but reached base safely when Grand Lake pitcher Trent Lunsford committed an error that allowed Riotto to score.
Ocker faced four Grand Lake batters in the top of the eighth and retired three of them to keep the visitors off the scoreboard. Delas also retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to preserve the tie and eventually pick up the win.
Riotto went 3-for-3, scored four runs and stole three bases. Shrock, Clanin, Ocker, Aaron Caputo and Jake Krupar each had a hit.
Boss and Silvestri each had two hits for Grand Lake. Roscetti was the losing pitcher.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048. Connect with him on Twitter @ACGalionSports.