SYRACUSE – It was the tale of two cities, all played in the same town. Wawasee had yet another seventh-inning rally go its way, then was shut out in its two games at the Wawasee Baseball Tourney Saturday afternoon.
Wawasee, finding itself trailing 5-3 in the seventh inning to Heritage in the opening game of the three-game series, loaded the bases with no outs. Spencer Prescott drew a walk to force in a run, and one out later, Jairus Boyer waved the magic wand with a gapper to right-center, plating two to set off a wild celebration.
“It’s always good to win, I don’t care how it happens, but we are starting to fall into a trend,” said Wawasee head coach Brent Doty. “We don’t get going until later in the game. I have said we need to have a seven-inning mentality. But we need to get going in the third or fourth inning, not the sixth or seventh. The resiliency of these guys is awesome. They have been battling and grinding, but it would be nice to stand over here calm once in a while.”
Wawasee used a similar rally to beat Elkhart Memorial earlier in the week.
Jake Crousore, making his first appearance of the season on the hill, played a pivotal role with 2.1 innings of near flawless relief, keeping Heritage off the board. His work afforded his first career victory.
Jeremiah Bess, Levi Brown and Gavin Barker all drove in runs in the third for the Warriors, pulling back to 5-3 after spotting the Patriots five runs.
Bobby Lomow had a double and two runs scored and Jarrett Keiss knocked in a pair for the Patriots.
“Everybody is going to get their shot, whether they are starting or coming off the bench,” Doty said. “That’s what we have preached all year. I can’t say enough about Jake Crousore, he hasn’t thrown an inning all year and comes in and throws two innings against a quality Heritage team. The effort and the positive attitude really goes a long way.”
The wheels of opportunity quickly ceased up in Wawasee’s game against Lowell. The Warriors would threaten only twice in the contest, leaving the bases loaded in the third and putting two more runners on in the fifth with nothing to show for it.
Rylan Kuhn had two of Wawasee’s six hits.
Josh Slabaugh threw admirably on the bump for the Warriors, going 5.2 innings, giving up four hits and three walks while fanning three. Slabaugh, however, couldn’t get out of the sixth where the Red Devils finally broke through. John Cory poked a one-out double, and after Slabaugh got a fly out, gave up an RBI double to Ryan Missal and a run-scoring single to Alex Dobrzeniecki. Lowell would load the bases later in the inning but wouldn’t score again.
The middle game of the day had Lowell defeat Heritage 11-5. Noah Hofmann was 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two driven in. John Cory was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
With the day’s results, Wawasee sits at 5-6, Lowell at 5-4 and Heritage at 2-6.
Wawasee will host Northridge Monday afternoon.