GREENVILLE – Greenville had one of its best games of the season on Thursday when it beat state-ranked Celina 5-3.
“Excellent,” Greenville baseball coach Eric Blumenstock said of his team’s play against Celina, who entered Thursday’s game ranked No. 15 in Division II by the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association. “It might be one of the better ballgames we’ve played all year.”
Greenville had a well-rounded game, scoring runs in four consecutive innings on offense while limiting Celina’s scoring opportunities.
“I can’t complain about anything we did today,” Blumenstock said. “We’re getting better every day, and this is the best we’ve played all year right now.”
Greenville quickly got going with a run in the bottom half of the second inning when Peter Pandey singled, stole second and scored on a RBI single by Jason Shields.
“The best thing about this team is none of them strike out,” Blumenstock said. “They’re going to put the ball in play, no matter who’s pitching. We’re seeing 80 to 85 (mph) on a regular basis so none of them are scared of anything now.”
The Wave added to their lead the following inning when Landon Eldridge singled, stole second and scored when Celina allowed a bloop shot by Tanner Ross to fall in shallow left field, increasing Greenville’s lead to 2-0.
Celina was able to tie the game in the fourth inning. Isaiah Eichler reached on an error and Kole Murlin singled to give the Bulldogs two base runners with no outs. After a popup for the first out of the inning, Celina moved both runners ahead one base with a bunt.
Greenville could have gotten out of the inning without any damage, but both runners scored on the Wave’s second error of the inning, knotting the score at 2-2.
It didn’t take long for Greenville to regain the lead, however. In the bottom half of the frame Shields walked, stole second and scored on a RBI single by Grant Minnich to put the Wave back up 3-2.
Greenville added two insurance runs in the fifth inning, beginning with a solo home run to left by Logan Eldridge.
“I knew that right off the bat,” Blumenstock said. “That was a no-doubter. I was just praying it stayed inside the yellow pole.”
Greenville added its final run when Pandey collected a two-out single and scored on a RBI double by Brandon Beyke, giving the Wave a 5-2 lead.
Celina did add one final run in the sixth when Jake Smalley doubled, went to third on a balk and scored on a passed ball, making the final score 5-3.
“We needed this one,” Blumenstock said of the victory. “Going into the tournament draw it’s a big win for us.”
Pandey was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs for Greenville. Logan Eldridge was 1-for-3 with a solo home run. Shields went 1-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base, a RBI and a run. Beyke went 1-for-3 with a double and scored a run. Minnich was 1-for-3 with a RBI. Landon Eldridge was 1-for-4, stole a base and scored a run.
Owen Paulus led the way on the mound, pitching the complete game and allowing three unearned runs on 10 hits, no walks and five strikeouts.
“Looked great today,” Blumenstock said. “Changed speeds really well, hit his location, hit his spots. I can’t say enough about what Owen did for us today.”
Greenville improved to 9-12 with Thursday’s victory while Celina fell to 14-3.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.