SIDNEY — With no drama once the game started, Lehman head coach Dave King could afford to enjoy the afternoon, one that saw him post the 500th victory of his long coaching career Tuesday.
King entered the season with 498 and Monday’s win over Newton set the stage for Tuesday’s Northwest Central Conference game with Ridgemont at Lehman. And the Cavaliers used a 14-run second inning to settle it early and assure that King would take his place on the short list of Ohio baseball coaches who have reached 500 victories.
The final Tuesday was 21-0 and gave the Cavs a 2-0 mark, 1-0 in the NWCC.
“I’m kinda glad it’s over,” said King. “I appreciate everything everybody did. The (Lehman) administration was here and they presented me with a beautiful plaque and a big banner. And there were a lot of family, friends and former players here, too. So it was a nice day. And the kids wanted to play well for the 500th win and I appreciated that. But now it’s time to get the focus off me and back on to winning baseball games.”
The Cavs hit some shots in the bottom of the first, only to have the wind hold them up for outs. But in the second, they took advantage of some walks and some errors to have a big inning.
“It was tough playing in the wind,” King said. “But we got some breaks in the second and strung together some hits. And AJ Hemelgarn was doing a good job on the mound for us. I was really impressed with his curveball.”
Hemmelgarn also had three hits, as did Parker Riley for the Cavs. Greg Spearman and Austin Arnold had two hits and Nate Bosway and Hemmelgarn had doubles. Hemmelgarn also drove in four and Spearman and Arnold three each.
Buccs go 1-1
Covington opened the season with an 8-6 win at New Knoxville on Monday, but came up on the short end of a 2-1 score at Anna on Tuesday.
Still, it was a good way to start the season in the eyes of Covington coach Mitch Hirsch.
“It is a good start,” said Hirsch. “Last night (against New Knoxville) we were a little tense, which is understandable because it was our first game and we do only have three varsity guys back from last year. But today (against Anna) I felt we played a little more relaxed.”
Covington was able to overcome the nervous energy on Monday as it tallied 11 hits in the victory.
Daine Peters led the way with two doubles on a 3-4 night, while Drew Schaurer and James Grilliot each connected for a pair of hits.
Justin Williams went five and two-thirds innings before surrendering to freshman Nathan Blei for the final one and one-third inning. The duo combined to strike out 10 New Knoxville batters.
“We hit the ball well Monday and our pitching was good,” Hirsch said. “But we had some mistakes in the field with the four errors that hurt us.”
On Tuesday at Anna there wasn’t any room for error as the Rockets are loaded with pitchers and have a potent offensive lineup.
“Anna is predicted to be right there in the Shelby County League with Fort Loramie, so we knew they would be good,” said Hirsch. “And I felt we played well. We just could’t break through when we needed it.”
In a pitching and defensive battle, hits were hard to come by for both teams. Covington failed to record an official hit and Anna had just four.
“I’m not too concerned with our hitting right now,” Hirsch explained. “It’s going to take us a few games to get our timing down at the plate.”
Even though Covington didn’t record an official hit, it did put the ball in play a lot on a day where the wind was blowing directly in from left field.
But only once did it result in a run as Jake Albright opened the fifth inning by drawing a walk. Sam Sherman then sacrificed Albright to second and Jared Williams reached on a failed fielder’s choice that put runners on the corners.
Albright then scored on a passed ball off a squeeze play to tie the game at 1-1.
Anna would then score the winning run in the bottom of the sixth.
Austin Lefeld went the distance on the mound for Covington, allowing just four hits on the night.
“Austin threw really well under the conditions,” praised Hirsch. “We made some mistakes defensively, one there in the fourth that gave them a run, but those mistakes are correctable.”
And the early signs are this young Covington team will do everything humanly possible to correct their mistakes.
“The attitudes of the kids are really good,” continued Hirsch. “They’ll work hard to improve because they expect to be good.”
Covington is back in action on Thursday at home against Milton.
Newton splits games
PLEASANT HILL — The Newton Indians opened the season on Monday by facing one of the toughest teams in the area, and while they held their own, the Lehman Cavaliers scored two early runs and grabbed a 4-1 victory at Newton.
On Tuesday, though, the Cody Alexander won a pitcher’s duel against Greenon, only allowing one run on four hits in a 3-1 Newton (1-1) victory.
Tyler Denlinger hit a two-out, two run single in the bottom of the fourth inning to put Newton up 3-0, and Alexander did the rest. He struck out eight and walked only one in the complete-game win — and he got lots of help from his outfield on a very windy day.
“The wind was unbelievable today,” Newton coach Nathan Kopp said. “Logan Welbaum, Denlinger and Brian Delcamp tracked down everything that was hit their way — and believe me, that was no easy task today.”
Cole Proffitt got the win for the Cavs (1-0), while Reid Ferrell took the loss for Newton against Lehman, giving up four hits and one earned run in five innings of work.
Newton travels to Tri-Village Thursday.
Russia now 2-0
MINSTER — Russia went to 2-0 and Minster lost in its opener in a 5-2 verdict at Minster Monday.
Minster coach Mike Wiss said the difference in the game was obvious.
“Russia pitchers didn’t walk any and hit one,” he said. “Minster pitchers walked six and hit three. That’s nine extra bases we gave them and not too many teams are good enough to do that and get away with it. So we’ve got a few things to work out.”
“Gavin Hoying threw very well in his first outing of the year, throwing four shutout innings,” said Russia coach Rick Gold. “He was able to throw his curveball for strikes and was able to locate his fastball. Jacob Pleiman pitched well in relief, but needed two outstanding catches by outfielders Bailey Francis and Randy McCarty to end Minster’s rally in the fifth and the sixth.”
Bailey Francis led Russia with a single and a double, and Zach Sherman had a double.
For Minster, Jacob Wuebker had two singles and Drew Ripploh doubled.
Russia scored three times in the top of the first when Zach Sherman doubled with two out and runners on first and second, and Bryan Drees followed with an RBI single.
Cats drop game
TIPP CITY — Houston was blanked 14-0 in non-league play at Bethel Tuesday, leaving the Wildcats 1-1 on the season.
Houston managed only a fourth-inning single by Jamie Riffell.