Redskins pull away from Van Wert late

VAN WERT — The state-ranked St. Henry Redskins traveled to Van Wert on Friday night to take on the Cougars in non-league baseball action. The Midwest Athletic Conference co-champions came alive in the sixth inning to beat the Cougars 8-1.

The Redskins struck first in the top of the first inning. Parker Link scored on a single by Marc Siefring and gave St. Henry an early advantage.

Van Wert bounced back in the bottom of the third when Parker Conrad scored on a hit to the right-center field gap by TJ Reynolds to tie the game at one a piece. Reynolds was caught stealing second and Hayden Maples struck out to end the Cougar rally.

Holden Willingham was solid through five innings of work. He walked just two batters and allowed one run while striking out four. He was replaced to start the sixth inning and that is where things began to fall apart for Van Wert.

Reliever Owen Treece walked three batters and gave up five hits in the sixth inning alone as St. Henry went on a tear. The No. 6-ranked Redskins racked up 7-runs and opened up a huge lead in route to their 8-1 victory.

St. Henry pitcher Marc Siefring had no trouble slamming the door on the Cougars for the last two innings. After giving up a hit to open the bottom of the sixth inning, he forced a double play and a groundout to end the threat. Siefring also struck out the side in the seventh to secure the win.

Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten noticed some inconsistencies in his team’s performance.

“It was the little things. A leadoff walk in the sixth inning, a bloop single, a bunt that we should have gotten a guy out on, and once you are in bases loaded with no outs you are in trouble. One mistake led to another and nobody stepped up to make a play.”

The Cougars face another tough opponent in Defiance on Saturday, and Witten said his team needs to be ready.

“We need to shake off tonight’s loss and forget about it. We will re-focus for tomorrow and get ready to play some baseball. Defiance is another really good opponent and we need to play seven solid innings of baseball.”

Van Wert falls to 11-4 (5-2 WBL) while St. Henry improves to 15-4 (8-1 MAC).