WADSWORTH: Speed on the bases, some power at bat and efficient pitching kept the Wadsworth baseball team unbeaten.
The host Grizzlies (14-0, 9-0 Suburban League) defeated Nordonia 3-2 Tuesday to stay atop the Suburban League standings. The victory is Wadsworth’s 25th regular season win in a row. Senior Nick Bebout tossed a complete game, senior Riley Campbell went 2-for-2 with two runs and senior Kyle Pennington slugged a two-run home run.
“We knew they were good coming in and it would be a battle,” Wadsworth coach Greg Pickard said of Nordonia (11-8, 5-3). “Nick pitched great. Going out pounding the strike zone and not walking anybody was huge. He made them earn it when they got on base. He did what he has been doing all year.
“I thought we came in aggressive and got off to a good start. … For [Pennington] to come through like that with two outs was a big spot [in the third inning].”
Wadsworth, which is seeking its second consecutive league title, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Campbell doubled to open the inning, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Jared Houser and scored on a single by sophomore Craig Palidar.
Pennington made it 3-0 in the third with his home run that cleared the left-field fence, 310 feet from home plate. Campbell scored on the homer after hitting a single.
“It was a fastball, letter-high,” Pennington said. “He left one up and I attacked it, and it ended up going over. That is the first one of my high school career.”
Nordonia battled back to a 3-2 deficit in the fourth. Sophomore Daniel Heiser hit a double, but became the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice that allowed junior Owen Dobbins to reach base. Senior Dominic Cinalli followed with a single and Nathan O’Donnell tripled down the right-field line to score Dobbins and Cinalli.
Bebout worked out of the fourth and then wiggled out of a fifth in which Knights senior Brandon Talion and junior Justin Post each singled with one out. Both players were stranded when Bebout got a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
“My mindset the whole game was to come out throwing strikes,” said Bebout (6-0). “They got a couple of good hits, but I just wanted to keep throwing strikes.”
He allowed eight hits and struck out eight.
Campbell, a four-year starter, scored twice and stole three bases to set a new Wadsworth career record with 61. Scott Fletcher, a major league infielder from 1981-1995, held the previous school record with 59 stolen bases.
Campbell is 17-for-17 on steal attempts this year. He and senior Wil Rock each doubled.
“We play a schedule that prepares us for games like this,” Nordonia coach Drew Hoisington said. “We play good team after good team and we are in big games all the time. That is something that prepares us for facing a pitcher like this and games like this.”
Nordonia senior Alex Alders did not play Tuesday and will not play Wednesday against Wadsworth due to a two-game suspension per OHSAA rules after being ejected Saturday in a an 8-7 loss to Aurora.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.