By Steve Peterson
Some overtime hours at Sargent Field for Akron-Westfield’s baseball team paid immediate dividends as they beat Unity Christian of Orange City, 2-0, for a War Eagle Conference win on a stormy June 14.
Due to threatening skies and a rainstorm the Friday night contest had to be a quick one. There was one mandatory 30-minute delay for lightening.
“It’s pretty nice the way we played. We have a special group of seniors, and they know they did not play well in the last two games (losses to Hinton 5-0 and Remsen Union 8-2). I could not help late last night but Assistant Coach Jim Frankl stayed late and worked with the team,” said A-W Coach Gordy Johnson.
A-W improved to 9-5 record with the win.
A-W senior Cole Oltmanns struck out nine Knights in six-and-one-third innings to get the win for A-W and allowed just three hits.
Senior Chet Willer came through with the clutch hit, a two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that scored Devon Myers, who had reached on an error and stolen a base, and Oltmanns, who walked.
Senior catcher Gregg Taylor, aka “the wall” behind home plate, made a nice play on a bunt, threw out a runner at second base on a caught-stealing to Cory Eskra and called a great game behind the plate, said Johnson.
“The seniors were determined,” said Johnson. “No matter what happens we have a very special group of seniors.”
It started a little early due to the threatening weather and Oltmanns set the tone by getting the last Knight hitter in the first inning on strikes.
Oltmanns walked to start the A-W first inning and Cory Eskra singled but they did not advance.
Oltmanns gained two more strikeouts in the second inning as a walk of a hitter was left on base.
Caleb Colt reached on a single in the fourth inning but did not advance for A-W.
After A-W broke through in their fifth inning, the Knights had the leadoff man on base in their sixth. Oltmanns then got three pop-out outs.
Oltmanns gained his ninth strikeout in the seventh inning but after a walk reliever, Eskra came in and “shut the door”
with a strikeout and a pop-out.
“Cole threw a good game, hitting the corners and low. But we’re not satisfied as we play a tough team at South O’Brien next (game was June 17, after deadline),” said Johnson.
Oltmanns walked twice and scored two runs.
Eskra was 1-for-2.
Willer was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Colt was 1-for-3.
Austin Allard was 1-for-3 with one double.
Spencer Frankl had one walk.
Devon Myers scored one run.
The Westerners had four hits and three walks.
In pitching Oltmanns worked six-and-one-third innings. He gave up three walks and three hits and struck out nine. Eskra worked two-thirds of an inning and struck out one.
A-W downed the Knights for the third time this season.
A-W will host Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn on June 21 in a WEC clash. A-W is at the Hinton tournament June 22.
A-W is at Remsen-St. Mary’s on June 24 in a WEC battle. Weekday game times are 6:00 p.m.