KALIDA, OH – The annual battle of the Wildcats on the diamond at Holy Name Ballpark Monday night took a handful of turns and saw a pair of lead changes before the home Wildcats were able to push across a trio of runs late to pick up a 5-2 victory.
Kalida hurler Noah Lambert who is expected to be a much bigger part of head coach Joe Recker’s rotation this season with the graduations of two-time PCL Player of the Year Austin Swift and Brady Laudick after a 23-1 season that ended in a regional finals appearance pitched well in the first as he set the tone by striking out the first to hitters he faced before inducing a ground ball from Corbin Niese to end the frame.
Miller City right hander Jacob Kuhlman allowed a pair of singles and hit a batter in the bottom of the opening inning but was able to work through with no damage done as he struck out Kevin Hamburg on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to skirt disaster for his squad.
Following a pair of scoreless innings from both sides it was the visiting Wildcats who struck first in the contest. With one out in the top of the third Miller City’s Kelvin Stechschulte roped an 0-2 offering into left field for just the second hit for his team to get things started in the inning. After a popout to third base by leadoff hitter Cole Niese the Wildcats reached the scoreboard first when Corbin Niese singled in Stechschulte for the first run of the contest. Jacob Schimmoeller knocked in Mark Kuhlman with a single of his own to put Miller City on top 2-0 before Lambert was removed from the mound and replaced by Owen Recker. Recker would use just four pitches in striking out the opposing pitcher Jacob Kuhlman to end the inning with his team behind by a pair of runs.
In the bottom of the third inning Kalida wasted no time breaking back to even as they saw their first two hitters of the frame reach as Trent Siebeneck and Noah Lambert each reached via a walk from Kuhlman and were subsequently brought around to score on a fielders choice by Owen Recker and a single by Derek Buss.
With Recker allowing just one hitter to reach in the fourth before garnering a pair of strikeouts to keep the game moving, Kalida went back to work quickly and built a 5-2 lead in the innings bottom half.
Braden Decker and Trevor Lambert reached against Kuhlman via singles to give the home Cats a pair of runners on with no outs in the inning, but a strikeout and a flyout quickly put Kalida in search of a two out rally. Decker and pinch runner Grant Laudick would each come around to score in the inning, as would Noah Lambert who was walked in the inning and came around to score on a hit by Buss to provide the final run of the contest.
The final opportunity for Miller City to score the tying runs came in the top of the fifth inning as they put a pair of players in Bryce Riepenhoff and Justin Schnipke on via a single and a hit by pitch, but were unable to capitalize as pinch hitter Lane Hiltner struck out to end the rally attempt.
The 89th meeting between the two Putnam County League rivals pulled Kalida one win closer to .500 all-time as Miller City now leads by a 45-44 margin.
Kalida is now 1-1 overall but 1-0 in PCL play and will take on Holgate on Tuesday while Miller City (2-1, 0-1) will travel to Delphos to take on a Jefferson squad that defeated Kalida in their opener.
WP: Owen Recker (4.0 IP, 1H, 8K)
LP: Jacob Kuhlman (6.0 IP, 6H, 5R, 4ER, 3BB, 4K)
Bryce Riepenhoff – 2 for 3
Corbin Niese – 1 for 3, 1 RBI
Jacob Schimoeller – 1 for 3, 1 RBI
Derek Buss – 3 for 3, 3 RBI
Noah Lambert – 1 for 1, 2 runs, 2BB
*Stats compiled with Gamechanger app*