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Wabash slides past Giants

BY Jacob Rude - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

WABASH - While Marion’s baseball team has shown plenty of potential on the young season, Wabash has fully realized theirs.

The Apaches, coming in with high expectations on the season, have lived up to those lofty standards and continued doing so on Friday, downing the Giants at home 5-2.

“It’s nice. The kids are playing together as a team,” Wabash head coach Jack Holley said. “We had a little different lineup today. Defensively, we’ve been playing really well. And that’s a key. That’s what we tell our pitchers. The only time we seem to be in trouble is when our pitchers don’t stay consistent in the strike zone. As long as our pitchers can throw strikes, I think we can play with just about anybody.”

Marion jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning but by the time the Giants scored their second run in the fifth inning, Wabash had plated five runs.

“We just came out a little flat,” Fagan said. “They’re a good ball club. They’re ranked….in 2A. So, we came out a little flat but we still battled. We didn’t give up. I wish we’d had a better outcome but we’ll learn from our mistakes here and go on tomorrow.”

The Apaches, who received votes in the latest coaches poll for Class 2A, wasted away big opportunities despite capturing the win. In the second inning, Wabash loaded the bases with no outs with a pair of singles sandwiching a hit-by-pitch.

Payton Sodervick would score on a passed ball, but a fielder’s choice groundout, a pop out in foul territory and a strikeout stranded a pair of runners in scoring position.

Wabash put two runners in scoring position with one out again in the third inning but again settled for just one run, that coming on an infield single.

Marion returned serve in the top of the fourth inning, loading the bases themselves with one out before an infield fly and a strikeout doomed the threat.

“We’ve ran into that all year long,” Fagan said. “We’ve had bases loaded and then don’t get that key hit when we needed to. The wind was brutal today but that’s not an excuse. We hit the ball hard, just right at people today. We didn’t get that ball to drop in.”

Having dodged a bullet, the Apaches finally put a cushion between themselves and the visitors. Kallen Kelsheimer drove in a run with a double into right center, Robert Irgang drove in a second run with a single to left and Sodervick netting an RBI with a bases loaded hit-by-pitch.

Marion tacked on its run in the top of the fifth.

From there, the two sides cruised to the finish with one walk and one hit between the two teams over the final inning-and-a-half.

Despite the win, Wabash finished with 10 runners left on base on the night.

“We always try to find a few things...and that’s one of the things we took note on today is we left way too many runners stranded,” Holley said. “We had bases loaded with nobody out and we only scored one. We have to capitalize better on those kinds of situations.”

Marion left eight runners on base in the loss. Logan Wagner was the lone GIant with multiple hits on the night, going 2-for-3 with a run. Jaquan Reeves, Travis Metzger and Broc Allgood all had one hit apiece.

On the mound, Allgood pitched 3.1 innings, allowing six hits and four runs on four strikeouts and four walks. AJ Mitchener pitched 2.2 innings without allowing a hit or a run, striking out three and walking one.

Daughtry earned the win for Wabash, tossing six innings and allowing two runs, one earned, with five strikeouts and five walks. Joe Leland notched a save, striking out one in an inning of work. Sodervick had two hits and two RBIs while Irgang and Kelsheimer had a hit and an RBI apiece.

Despite it coming in a loss, Fagan was pleased with how his team competed against a top team in the state.

“In the past, we haven’t been very successful,” he said. “We’ve rolled over. This year we’re fighting a little bit and taking some pride in what we’re doing. To (lose) 5-2 against these guys against a couple of kids that are pretty good ballplayers over there, I’m happy with what we did.”

As for Wabash, the hits keep on coming both figuratively and literally as the Apaches move to 6-0 on the season behind, as Holley said, solid play in every facet of the game.

“Offensively, I’m really happy,” he said. “Our first six are pretty good hitters. The thing I’m struggling with right now is we have 12 players that all can play. Finding enough innings for all of them is a little challenging right now. We’ll try to work that out so when we get to conference, we put our best nine out there and we’re still not sure who our best nine is.

“Defensively, we’ve been pretty good. Our outfield has been terrific. Really, if our pitchers keep throwing strikes, that’s the key. When we get in trouble, it’s usually on the hill and not anywhere else.”

Wabash will be off until Monday when they host Huntington North while Marion traveled to Peru for a doubleheader on Saturday.