Cougars advance with 10-0 shutout of Indians

VAN WERT — In a Division II sectional semifinal at Van Wert's Russell Fisher Field on Wedneasday, the host Cougars were in command from start to finish in a 10-0 blanking of Wauseon.

The Cougars will advance to Friday's sectional title game.

Cougar junior Lawson Blackmore limited the Indians to three hits across six innings of work. He walked two and struck out eight. On the other side, Wauseon starter Carter Stump was hammered for eight hits and nine runs (eight earned) in his five innings. The Cougars pounded out 11 hits in total, including four for extra bases.

"It seems like, when we aren't going good we watch a lot of good pitches go by," Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said. "We didn't do that today; the pitches that were there, we hammered them."

The Cougars struck in the opening inning thanks to a leadoff walk to Jonathan Lee, a single and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Blackmore. In the Cougar second, Jake Lautzenheiser singled, then Darius Eddins ripped a triple to deep right center for a 2-0 scoreboard. Three batters later, Lee executed a suicide squeeze that brought Eddins home, and an error on the play allowed James Acquaviva to come all the way around from first for a 4-0 lead.

"We were putting the barrel of the bat on the ball, but we executed, too," Witten said. "The squeeze in the second inning was a huge play. Every situation we had, I think we executed it perfectly.

It stayed that way until the fifth, when the Cougars erased any doubts with a 5-run uprising. A 1-out walk to Lee and an infield hit by TJ Reynolds ignited the rally. Hayden Maples brought in a run with a single, then Blackmore smoked a double to deep left field, scoring another. After Nathan Temple walked, Eddins connected for his second extra-base hit of the day and brought home two more runs.

The Cougars had a chance to end the game in five, but left the 10th run on base.

In the sixth, it took a 2-out rally against reliever Levi Krasula to get it done. Reynolds poked a single to left, then Maples lined a double up the gap. Blackmore then ripped a walk-off base hit into left center to score Reynolds and advance the Cougars to Friday.

Eddins finished 2-for-3 with a double, triple and three RBIs. Blackmore added three RBIs of his own.

"[Darius] has been sick; he had pneumonia, but he had a decent practice yesterday and was able to get after it today," Witten said. "He's a guy that just gets in there and does the job."