GALION — On Tuesday evening, the Galion Graders returned to their home field in Heise Park for game one of a three game series against the visiting Lima Locos.
Despite a ninth-inning rally that saw the home team plate six runs, they would leave the bases loaded and come up a run short against their nemesis; 13-12. With the loss, Galion fell to 1-6 overall on the season.
The Graders would score the first run of the contest following a lead-off walk to Thomas Staab. Staab proceeded to steal second base and then move over to third on an Andrew Sharp groundout before later scoring on a wild pitch. Galion would go quietly in their half of the second and third, following three runs from Lima in the top of the second inning.
In the fourth, the Locos expanded their lead to 4-1 with a three-run inning. Galion’s offense had other plans for the direction of the game however in the bottom of the frame. DeVonte Washington began the inning being hit by a pitch as would the very next batter, Bryce Ray. With runners at first and second, Austin Harper would draw a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Takahiro Yamada delivered a single, scoring Washington from third and reloading the bases. Nicholas Sykes flew out to right for the first out before Ryan Strittmather plated both Ray and Harper with a two-RBI single, sending Yamada to second. A double steal put runners at second and third before Staab scored Yamada. Two more walks in the frame loaded the bases yet again but Washington recorded a flyout for the third out with Galion now leading; 5-4.
Both teams would be held scoreless in the fifth before the Locos saw three more runs come across in the sixth to give them the 7-5 advantage. The Graders would be kept off of the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning.
In the seventh, Galion scored a run to take the deficit down to one as Ray scored Washington on a single. The eighth inning would be one to forget for the home squad as Lima stretched their lead again, scoring five in the top of the frame to go up; 12-6. Down to potentially their final six outs, the Graders would muster just one hit in the home half, a single from Garrett Kuns.
Following an insurance run from the Locos in the top of the ninth, Galion stepped up to the dish trailing by a score of 13-6. The inning began with a pair of walks to JP Bitzenhofer and Sharp. Washington dug in and ripped a double that scored Bitzenhofer and moved Sharp to third. Another walk would load the bases before the fourth walk of the inning scored Sharp from third. Yamada would proceed to reach via a walk, scoring Washington and bringing the Graders within four at 13-9. Kuns would deliver again for the Graders, belting a two-run double to score both Ray and Harper and cut the lead to two runs. Lima pitching issued another walk to load the bases and put the tying run in scoring position at second. Staab went down on strikes for the first out of the frame before Bitzenhofer reached first on an error that scored Yamada. With the bases still loaded, Sharp struck out for the second out and would be followed by a “K” from Washington, thus ending the game with the bases juiced.
Offensive statistics for Galion in the loss: Team- 7/35, 12R, 11RBI, 12BB, 11K, 3SB, 10 LOB; Staab- R, RBI, SB; Bitzenhofer- R, RBI; Sharp- R; Washington- 2B, 3R, RBI; Ray- 2-1B, 2R, RBI; Harper- 2R, RBI; Yamada- 1B, 2R, 2RBI, SB; Kuns- 1B, 2B, 2RBI and Strittmather- 1B, 2RBI, SB.
Lima would score their 13 runs on a dozen hits, strand 13 on the base path and commit two errors in the field. The Graders finished the contest with three errors.
Pitching stats for the home team: SP- Creek Miller- 3IP, 5H, 3ER, 3BB, 2K; LP- Christopher Punka- 4IP, 3H, 4ER, 4BB, 2K; Parker Brown- 3ER, 2BB; Chase Jessee- IP, 2H, 2ER, 3BB, 3K and Jared Strickler- IP, 2H, ER.
Wednesday’s contest at home against Lima was suspended due to weather and will be made up before game three of the series, weather pending, on Thursday at Simmons Field, home of the Locos.
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