Blackmore and Treece combine for no-hitter

SPENCERVILLE – The long awaited 2018 spring baseball season got underway Monday when the Van Wert Cougars traveled to Spencerville to take on the Bearcats in the season opener. Lawson Blackmore and Owen Treece combined for a no-hitter as the Cougars blanked the Bearcats 14-0.

Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten could not ask for much more from his ballclub to start off the campaign. They racked up 14 runs and performed flawlessly on the mound to walk away with an opening day victory. The Cougars wasted no time getting the bats going and knocked home two runs in the first inning. Hayden Maples drove in Jalen McCracken on a hit to left field to give Van Wert their first run of the game. He later scored on an errant pickoff attempt at first base that made its way into shallow right field and gave the Cougars a 2-0 entering the bottom of the first inning.

Blackmore was sensational in his four innings of work. He struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced and made it impossible for the Bearcats to spark any momentum. The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the third with help from TJ Reynolds. His single up the middle gave the Cougars a 4-0 advantage and sent Spencerville searching for answers. Blackmore continued to pour it on from the mound and closed out his final inning with his eighth strikeout.

Owen Treece entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and picked up where Blackmore left off. His three hitless innings helped secure the victory as well as a combined no-hitter.

The Cougars tacked up one run it the fifth inning before unleashing a barrage in the seventh to close out the game. They tallied 7 runs on 4 hits and drew 4 bases on balls in an explosive seventh inning. Any chance of a late game comeback by Spencerville was quickly dashed by the consistent play of the Cougars.

Witten was happy with the way his team performed on opening day.

“Lawson on the mound is going to be a good number one this year. He’s going to be hard for a lot of teams to hit. Then Owen Treece, a freshman, came in as relief, and he’s going to be one of our starting rotation guys as well, and he did a great job.”

Van Wert starts the season at 1-0 while Spencerville falls to 0-1. The Cougars will be back on the diamond Wednesday at home against the Lincolnview Lancers for a 4:30 p.m. first pitch.