Cougars explode for 8-run 4th to knock off Bath

VAN WERT — For three innings of Van Wert’s Western Buckeye League game against Bath on Tuesday night, the Cougars had no answer for the Wildcats and right hander Chad Frey. The Cougars then made some adjustments and scored eight runs in what would be the decisive fourth inning to post a 10-4 win at Smiley Park.

Van Wert (11-3, 5-2 WBL) put each of its first six hitters on base in the fourth against Frey, who had yielded only one hit through the first three frames. Hayden Maples led off the inning with a base hitto right, then Lawson Blackmore found a seam up the middle to put two runners aboard. After a walk loaded the bases, Nathan Temple moved each runner up one base with his RBI single, and Darius Eddins followed suit with another base hit. James Acquaviva then had the biggest hit of the inning, a bullet past the third baseman and into left field for a 2-run single, giving the Cougars a 4-2 lead.

After a bunt attempt resulted in a force out, the Cougars picked right back up with the hot hitting. Jake Lautzenheiser drove home a run with a single to left, and TJ Reynolds brought home two runs with a long triple to deep left center field and a 7-2 lead. Reynolds then scampered home on a sacrifice fly from Maples to cap the scoring in the inning.

On the mound, Maples was tagged for two runs (one earned) in the opening inning, but settled down for a couple of innings thereafter. Battling through some injuries, Maples allowed a single run in the Wildcat fifth, but pitched well enough to earn the win. He went five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks. He punched out five. Blackmore worked the final two innings in relief.

The Cougars picked up two runs in the fifth against Bath southpaw Blake Goedde. Back-to-back falirs found the grass for singles, with Goedde balking the first of those, Temple, into scoring position. Temple came home on an Eddins base hit. Eddins eventually came around on Lautzenheiser’s soft line drive to ceter for the Cougars’ 10th run of the day.

Temple, Maples, Lautzenheiser, Eddins and Acquaviva each had two hits, and four Cougars drove in two runs apiece.

Bath is now 7-12 overall and 3-5 in league play. The Cougars sit tied with Defiance in second place in the WBL, two games behind Wapakoneta.