Wildcats split: Waterford baseball edges Eastern Eagles 4-3

WATERFORD -The Waterford Wildcats used a little bit of small ball to score a big win over the visiting Eastern Eagles Wednesday night in a Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division battle .

The ‘Cats scored a pair of runs in the last of the sixth inning without the benefit of a base hit and then held on to defeat the Eagles 4-3 for their third straight victory to open the season.

“We were able to do some clutch hitting there late in the game,” said Waterford head coach Chad Augenstein, whose team made the most of five base hits. “We were able to move runners and then find a way to get them in.”

The Wildcats came to bat in the last of the sixth trailing by a run but quickly put pressure on the Eastern defense when Montana Brooker and Isaac Huffman were both hit by pitches thrown by Eagle starting pitcher Zach Scowden.

Brandon Coleman was called in to relieve Scowden on the mound and the first batter he faced, Brent Ginther grounded a ball to shortstop.

A hustling Huffman was able to beat the throw to second base to load the bases with Wildcats with nobody out.

Left fielder Cody Paxton tied the game with a run scoring ground out to shortstop that moved Huffman to third and Ginther to second.

Freshman shortstop Clay Hayes then bounced out to shortstop with Huffman crossing the plate to give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.

For the second straight game, sophomore right hander Devyn Farley went the distance to gain the win but not without a serious scoring threat by the Eagles in the top of the seventh.

Farley walked Eastern lead off hitter Tyler Morris and he promptly stole second base.

On the very next pitch Farley delivered a wild pitch but his battery mate Huffman recovered nicely and fired a strike to third baseman Cody Malac to nail Morris for the all-important first out of the inning.

“Isaac (Huffman) came up throwing and made a really nice throw and Cody (Malac) was able to make a swipe tag,” said Augenstein. “It was an awful close play but a big out.”

That play proved even more important when Scowden followed with a walk and catcher Christian Speelman doubled to left field to put runners on second and third with just one out.

With his back against the wall, Farley induced Coleman to fly out to Paxton in short left field before getting Tyler Barber to ground out to Hayes at shortstop to end the game and secure victory number three for the young ‘Cats.

“What can you say about the job that Devyn Farley did on the mound again tonight,” said Augenstein of his starting pitcher, who allowed just two earned runs and five hits while walking three and striking out seven. “He throws strikes and really did everything we asked of him and more.”

Eastern scored an unearned run in the third inning to take the early lead before the Wildcats scored a pair of runs in the last of the fourth to jump in front by a run at 2-1.

Base hits by Cameron Bosner and Farley with one out and an Eagle error and infield ground out by Paxton produced the first two Waterford runs.

Eastern scored a pair off of Farley in the top of the fifth on a Speelman RBI ground out and a single by Coleman down the right field line to jump back in front 3-2, setting the stage for the Wildcat sixth inning rally. Coleman was saddled with the loss for Eastern despite tossing five innings of five hit baseball, while Farley improved to 2-0 with the win.

The Wildcats will look to make it four- in-a-row Friday when they travel to Corning to take on Miller Friday night in another TVC contest.