OTTAWA, OH – Ottawa Post 63’s first game of the season came with its fair share of challenges at times but when the darkness began to set in and the top of the 8th inning wrapped up the Fighting 63rd had outscored Troy 13-8.
Coming off of an 8-12-2 season and with just four players returning from last seasons squad the 63rd opened their first contest with a new lineup and opportunities to shine for their young club.
Kalida’s Brady Laudick got the start for Ottawa on the mound and surrendered four walks in the first inning, but saw just one turned into a run as he got a strikeout and a groundout from the bottom of the Troy order to help limit the damage against his team on the new scoreboard installed at Memorial Park.
Eight batters came to the plate for the home squad in the bottom of the opening frame and three would find themselves crossing home plate in the inning. Jackson Lammers (Miller City) got things going first as he doubled to the left field wall. Corbin Niese (Miller City) was issued a walk and Austin Swift (Kalida) singled to drive in a run. Ryan McCracken’s (Van Wert) RBI ground out to short and Austin Klausing’s (Kalida) sacrifice fly brought in the remaining two runners.
Troy Post 43, coming off of a 41-18 season last year that saw them reach the Great Lakes American Legion National Regional for the first time since 1970 came out swinging in the second inning as they plated five runs of their own to take a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the second.
Ten batters came to bat for Troy in the top half of the inning that began with a single from Frank Gnuca and ended when Gnuca grounded out to Lammers at short following every one of his teammates having had their turn on the offensive end against relief pitcher Jordan Tovarnak (Shawnee) who came in with one out in the inning.
Following a pair of scoreless innings on both side the visitors punched across a run in the fourth to take a 7-3 lead in the game.
Ottawa responded to their opponents marker in the fifth and sixth innings as they tallied eight runs to take an 11-7 lead into the seventh led by a triple and a double by Swift and McCracken to start the fifth, and a trio of singles by Niese, Swift, and Van Wert’s Ryan Stoller that followed up a leadoff double by Ada’s Brayden Sautter in the sixth.
Braden Nesbit (Tipp City Bethel/Muskingum) added the last run for Troy as he smacked a ball over the right centerfield wall to cut the Ottawa lead to 11-8 in the seventh before his next six teammates would be retired in order to end the game.
Corbin Niese singled to open the bottom of the seventh, Austin Swift was hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count, and McCracken singled in a run as all three would come around to score in the final Ottawa at bat before their turn came to an end.
McCracken finished the day 3-5 at the plate and with 4 RBI for the victorious Fighting 63rd (1-0) while Van Wert High School teammate Stoller finished 2-4 with a run scored and a walk on the day.
Lima Senior Junior Josiah Shoemaker (1-0) snagged the win for his squad while Noah Roswell (0-1) took the loss for Troy (2-3).
Troy will return home Friday night to begin WOL play as they take on Greenville while the Fighting 63rd are in Kalida for exhibition action against the Lima Locos at Holy Name Ballpark beginning at 7pm. Lima vs Ottawa can be heard live on: Zsportslive.com
Jackson Lammers (Miller City): 2-5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 Runs
Corbin Niese (Miller City): 2-4, 1 BB, 3 Runs
Austin Swift (Kalida): 3-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 3 Runs, HBP
Ryan McCracken (Van Wert): 3-5, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 Runs
Ryan Stoller (Van Wert): 2-4, BB, Run
Brady Laudick (Kalida): BB
Jordan Tovarnak (Shawnee): 0-1
Josiah Shoemaker (Lima Sr): 0-2
Noah Howell (Temple Christian): 1-1
Austin Klausing (Kalida): 1-5, 2 RBI
Nate Arrington (Ottawa Glandorf): 0-4, BB, RBI
Matt Bowden (Bluffton): 1-2
Brayden Sautter (Ada): 2-2, 2B, SB, RBI, Run