OTTAWA — The Ottawa Knights of Columbus Streaks 16-and-under baseball team couldn't seem to catch a break offensively through the first eight innings of their scheduled nine-inning game against visiting Putnam County on Monday.
The ninth inning, however, they caught two.
With neither club able to muster much in the hit column and the contest devoid of a single run, Streaks No. 9 hitter Bryce Jones led off the bottom of the ninth by drawing a walk and later scored on a wild pitch to give the hosts a 1-0 victory.
"We were using wooden bats, because that is what we have to use this Friday and Saturday at the state tournament in NIles," said Streaks coach Brad Waldron. "So we've been using those the last couple of games because the kids need to get used to them. It's a completely different ballgame using wooden bats.
"When the sixth, seventh and eighth innings rolled around tonight in a scoreless game, and as competitive as the team and I am, I left it up to them if they wanted to grab the aluminum after that, but they stuck with it."
Jones' base on balls preceded leadoff man Nick Melvin's sacrifice bunt that was fielded clean, but thrown down the right-field line allowing Jones to race around to third. Then the first pitch from PC reliever Sam Currie, who replaced starter Caleb Tonozzi to begin the frame, to Jalen Flavel was in the dirt and skipped to the backstop, and Jones beat the throw back home from the catcher.
The fact that one run scored and a total of only five hits were recorded in the game was a testament to fine pitching efforts on both sides. The Streaks (12-4) received four no-hit innings from starter Jace Addis, who struck out six, and five innings of two-hit, three-strikeout relief from winning pitcher Grant Waldron. Tonozzi went eight innings giving up just three singles with two walks and eight punchouts, but received a no-decision.
"They both threw the ball well," said Waldron of his pair of hurlers. "Jace is a really good athlete and there isn't much he is going to get cheated on, and Grant just needs to trust his stuff a little bit more. He sometimes (aims) for a spot first before he lets it go, and I like to see him just throw it because he has a good arm too."
The Streaks and Putnam County each stranded a pair of runners in scoring position over the first six innings, but the locals squandered a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the eighth. Luke Couch started the frame with a single to right, but after Jay Scott walked Couch was forced out at third on a bunt attempt by Grant Waldron.
Then after Victor Mullen was hit by a pitch, Jake Thomas hit a line drive to center which Jacob Williams caught and made a perfect throw home to cut down the runner trying to score.
Defense shined on the Streaks side as well, starting with Thomas' sliding catch down the right-field line to end the third. Couch made a trio of fantastic plays in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, while Melvin's diving catch in center with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh kept PC off the scoreboard.
"We went from (Marquette at) the (Class 1A) state finals to this schedule, so we really haven't had too many practices this summer," Waldron said. "This is a really good group of kids, everybody gives 110 percent, and they all know the game. I'm hoping we can keep this group together in the years to come when the summer comes around."
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Ottawa K of C Streaks 1, Putnam County 0
PUTNAM CO. (0) — Pyszka ss 3-0-1-0, Olson 3b 2-0-0-0, Tonozzi p/eh 2-0-0-0, Gorisek eh 3-0-0-0, Staley 1b 3-0-0-0, Smith 2b 2-0-0-0, Williams cf 2-0-0-0, Weisbrock lf 3-0-0-0, Uzella rf 3-0-0-0, Mecagni c 1-0-1-0, S. Currie eh/p 2-0-0-0, A. Currie eh/1b 2-0-0-0. Totals 28-0-2-0.
STREAKS (1) — Melvin cf 3-0-1-0, Flavel 2b 3-0-0-0, Addis p/lf 3-0-1-0, Reynolds 3b 3-0-0-0, Couch 3-0-1-0, Scott c 1-0-0-0, Waldron lf/p 3-0-0-0, Mullen dh 2-0-0-0, Thomas rf 3-0-1-0, Jones 2-1-0-0. Totals 26-1-3-0.
Putnam Co. 000 000 000 — 0 2 0
Streaks (12-4) 000 000 001 — 1 3 0
LOB — Putnam Co. 6, Streaks 6. DPT — Putnam Co. 1. SB — Pyszka, Olson, Melvin 2, Addis, Couch 2. CS — Williams. SAC — Melvin. HBP — Olson (by Addis), Williams (by Addis), Mullen (by Tonozzi).
Putnam County ip r er h bb k
Tonozzi 8.0 0 0 3 2 8
S. Currie (L) 0.0 1 0 0 1 0
Addis 4.0 0 0 0 2 6
Waldron (W) 5.0 0 0 2 1 3
None out when winning run scored on wild pitch.