Hits become arbitrary and meaningless in a hurry when not leading to runs on the scoreboard, as Sandusky American Legion Post 83 so well demonstrated on Wednesday.
Seven of Sandusky's eight hits against Ashland Post 88 came with either no runners on base or a lone runner at first.
Quentin Harrington (Perkins 2013) hit two balls that never left the infield to bring in two runs, one a groundout in the first and a swinging bunt single in the sixth inning.
That ineffectiveness with the sticks, combined with some rusty pitching and defense, helped Ashland escape with a 4-3 victory in the seven-inning contest played at Perkins High School.
“I'm a little frustrated,” Post 83 coach Bobby Palsa said. “We didn't have that one guy step up and get a hit for us today. We talk about guys stepping up and getting big hits in critical situations. We didn't have that today.
“As a result of failing on that six out of seven innings, it makes it hard to win baseball games,” he added.
Sandusky (7-7) left eight runners on base, including the bases loaded in two separate innings.
Noah Asmus (Rossford) scored the lone other run for Post 83 when he came home on a passed ball after a leadoff double in the first. Asmus and Harrington were the lone players to finish with multiple hits, tallying two each.
“I told them it doesn't matter if you get a hit and there is no one on base,” Palsa said. “That's great and I'm happy for them when they do. But I need a guy who wants to be up there with guys on.”
With a big tournament over the weekend in Napoleon looming, Palsa ran four different pitchers out to the mound.
Braun Miller (Perkins), fresh off his appearance at the Heartland Baseball Classic in Norman, Okla., didn't look his usual dominant self, walking five guys and hitting another in the first two innings of an abbreviated start. He struck out four and gave up a single hit.
Yet, Miller still had his team in good position, up 2-1 with the bats producing only a single hit.
“Yes,” Palsa said asked if it was a goofy game. “With this being a middle of the week game, and our only game so far this week with a big tournament coming up this weekend, it was a little goofy in that four different guys up on the mound, not to mention, a lot of guys coming in and switching positions. So there wasn't a whole lot of consistency or continuity in the lineup. But, you still got to be ready to come out here and play, no matter what the situation is.”
Kyle Young (Perkins) suffered the loss after giving up three runs (two earned) in the fourth inning. He got two innings in, while Trevon Moore (Perkins) pitched a scoreless fifth inning and Luke Fraley (Perkins), also back from the Heartland Baseball Classic, took care of the final Ashland (3-10) at bats.
“That was all by design,” Palsa said. “And with Braun (Miller) and Luke (Fraley) just getting back, I didn't know when the last time was where they had really pitched. For Luke, it had been awhile. For Braun, it had been four or five days.”
Miller and Fraley returning was a welcome sight for a Sandusky squad that has had its difficulties fielding a team over the last few weeks. Fraley added a single with the bat in the fourth inning, two hitters in front of Miller who doubled to center field.
“The highlight of my day was I had a majority of my team here,” Palsa said. “I had 14 guys here today. That's the first time that we've had that all year. It was great to actually have our team in the dugout, and not have guys that were just helping us out for a game or whatever.”