By JIM METCALFE
DELPHOS — Columbus Grove got the bats out early and often at Wildcat Field in Delphos.
They compiled 15 hits and run-ruled host Jefferson 14-3 in six innings in Northwest Conference baseball action on a pleasant Thursday afternoon.
“They were hitting bullets all over the field. They are a nice hitting team,” Jefferson head man Doug Geary noted. “We weren’t booting the ball all over the place, that’s for sure. Give them credit for their offense.”
Trey Roney (4-1) went the 6-inning complete game for the victors (14-2, 4-0 NWC), tossing 92 pitches (69 for strikes).
“Trey isn’t a hard thrower but he is a cerebral player; he knows how to pitch,” Grove mentor Cory King said. “He changes speeds very well and mixes his pitches up well, moving them around the plate. He made a couple of mistakes — one a ball chest-high to (Zavier) Buzard — but not many.”
The Bulldogs got rolling right off the bat against Jefferson starter Zach Ricker (3-2) with two runs in the top of the first on an error and three hits, including a run-producing (Blake Huffman, 2-for-5) knock to center by Matt Jay (3-for-4, 2 runs batted in), and a sacrifice fly by Roney (3-for-4, 4 RBIs), bringing in Brandon Benroth (2-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs).
Delphos (13-7, 2-4 NWC) retaliated for one in the home half on an error and two hits, including a run-coring single to center by Zach Kimmett (plating Ross Thompson), for a 2-1 deficit.
The visitors tacked on two more in the second on a walk to Josh Verhoff (3 walks, 3 runs), a run-scoring double by Trent Vorst and an RBI single by Mason Smith (3-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) for a 4-1 lead.
Grove made it 5-1 in the third, chasing Ricker for Jordan Herron, compiling two hits and two walks, including a bases-loaded one to Verhoff, plating Roney.
Grove made it 6-1 in the fourth on a 1-out double by Jay and an RBI line single by Roney.
The Wildcats rallied with a pair in their half of the frame with two hits, the second a 2-run bomb over the 345-foot mark in left field by Zavier Buzard that also scored Herron, to get within 6-3. It became 8-3 in the Bulldog half of the fifth on a free pass and three singles, the latter two from Benroth (scoring Verhoff) and Jay (Smith).
Jefferson had a pair of hits in the fifth but Herron got picked off first base by Jay to end the threat.
The visitors added their final six tallies in the sixth, chasing Herron (for Thompson) and sending 11 batters to the dish. An error was part of it, as was a walk, a hit batter and four hits. The big blows were a 2-run rip up the gut by Smith (pinch-runner Logan Diller and Verhoff), along with a 2-run liner by Roney (Smith and Benroth), to make it 14-3.
When Roney retired the side in the Delphos sixth, the game was over. Both coaches figured that the count was key for both sides.
“Zach was behind in the count from the start and now it becomes a hitter’s count. You can’t fall behind good-hitting teams,” Geary added. “We hit the ball well, too; we just couldn’t keep up with them. We had a good number of hits and even had some bad luck because a few were hit hard but right at them.”
“Trey was throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes and now, they have to hit his pitch; he can even make them chase more and they hit a lot of fly balls,” King added. “We showed a lot of discipline at the plate and we were rewarded. We needed it, too; we’ve been struggling putting up runs and we broke out today.”
Both teams are on the road for NWC action today: Jefferson at Bluffton and Columbus Grove at Crestview, both makeup games.
COLUMBUS GROVE (14)
Blake Huffman cf 5-1-2-0, Brandon Benroth ss 5-2-2-2, Matt Jay c 4-1-3-2, Trey Roney p 4-1-3-4, Brady Shafer rf 2-1-0-0, Kody Griffith 1b 5-0-2-0, Logan Diller pr 0-1-0-0, Josh Verhoff 2b 0-3-0-1, Trent Vorst 3b 3-2-1-1, Mason Smith lf 4-2-3-3. Totals 32-14-15-13.
Ross Thompson ss/p 4-1-1-0, Zach Ricker p/2b/1b 3-0-0-0, Austin Jettinghoff c/2b/ss 3-0-2-0, Zach Kimmett 1b/c 3-0-1-1, Drew Kortokrax rf 3-0-1-0, Jordan Herron 3b/p 3-1-2-0, Zavier Buzard cf 3-1-1-2, Seth Wollenhaupt lf 2-0-0-0, Tyler Wrasman 2b/3b 2-0-0-0, Tyler Rice ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 27-3-8-3.
Score by Innings:
Col. Grove 2 2 1 1 2 6 - 14
Jefferson 1 0 0 2 0 0 - 3
E: Benroth, Griffith, Ricker, Wollenhaupt, Wrasman; LOB: Columbus Grove 10, Jefferson 6; 2B: Jay, Vorst; HR: Buzard; SB: Roney, Shafer, Griffith, Thompson; DI: Benroth; POB: Herron (by Jay); Sac: Vorst; SF: Roney.
IP H R ER BB SO
Roney (W, 4-1) 6.0 8 3 2 1 6
Ricker (L, 3-2) 2.0 6 5 4 2 0
Herron 3.0 7 7 7 3 2
Thompson 1.0 3 2 0 1 2
Ricker pitched to 2 batters in 3rd
Herron pitched to 4 batters in 6th
WP: Thompson; HBP: Verhoff (by Herron).