GALION — Heise Park hosted a “Farewell Game” on Saturday evening for graduated high school baseball players who missed out on their senior season due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the contest, the East team created of players from Richland and most of Morrow County defeated their West opponents from Crawford County and Northmor High School by a 9-5 margin.
Initially, the game looked to be a pitching duel as East starter Blaise Caudill from Shelby and West counterpart Trevor Ley of Bucyrus were able to get through the opening two innings with little difficulty. While both pitchers did scatter a handful of singles, they were able to take advantage of good defense to escape unscathed.
After giving up a single to Colonel Crawford’s Trevin Fairchild, Caudill’s defense was able to catch him stealing to empty the bases again in the bottom of the first inning. Then, in the top of the second frame, Ley gave up a lead-off hit to Shelby’s Austin Gray, but was able to pick him off first.
Caudill then had to work out of a big jam in the bottom of the second. With one out, he gave up back-to-back-to-back singles to Ley, Northmor’s Tyler Brown and Bucyrus’ Kaden Middleton. However, he then recorded two consecutive strikeouts to get out of that jam and keep the score deadlocked at zero.
Highland’s Tyler DeWeese helped get the East on the board in the top of the third, as he led off the inning by drawing a work off Ley. After a second walk put runners on first and second, Ley was able to pick up a pair of strikeouts, but couldn’t get out of the inning unscathed.
A double by Mansfield Senior’s Aiden Crider drove in DeWeese and Caudill then helped his own cause by bringing in two runs with a double, giving the East a 3-0 lead.
The score would remain that until the bottom of the fifth inning when Caudill gave way to Shelby teammate Carter Smith on the mound. Colonel Crawford’s Daylen Balliett led off with a double and Wynford’s Seth Benedict reached base to put two on. A walk to Northmor’s Alex Tuttle loaded the bases and Fairchild responded with a two-run hit to bring the West within one. However, Smith would recover and record three straight outs to get out of the inning with no more damage done.
His East team would then effectively put the game away with a huge sixth inning. Against a pair of West pitchers, they were able to string together 11 at-bats in the frame, while scoring six runs to take a 9-2 advantage.
With the score 4-2, Mount Gilead’s Matthew Exline would crack a two-run hit to make it a four-run game. DeWeese would later draw a walk with the score 8-2, but wound up stranded at second as Northmor’s Brown was able to get a pair of strikeouts to bring the inning to an end after one more run had scored due to a wild pitch.
The rest of the game’s offense came in the bottom of the eighth inning, which wound up being the final frame played as Galion’s fireworks were scheduled for 10 p.m. and the time was approaching that hour. Colonel Crawford’s Gavin Feichtner, Northmor’s Wyatt Reeder and Ley all were walked and all three crossed the plate on wild pitches before the East was able to close out the inning and game.