The Pirates plated two runs in the third inning without a ball leaving the infield and Blake Smith made it stand in a 2-1 Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division showdown against Norwalk on Friday.
“We’ve been practicing our bunting a lot and you could see it helped today,” said Perkins coach Chris Walton. “On a windy day like today, you’ve got to get the ball down and get it into fair territory where anything can happen.
“Our kids did a good job. They did what they were asked to do, got a couple of bunts down and got their defense moving around a little bit, which worked out for us.”
All of the action for the Pirates (10-1, 4-0 SBC Lake) came in the third when Luke Walton opened the inning with an infield single that hit the front of the bag and bounced away from the first baseman.
Dylan Nason drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Spencer Klein laid down a sacrifice bunt but reach safely on a throwing error that allowed Walton to score the game’s first run.
Smith followed with a bunt single to drive in Nason to open up a 2-0 lead and would hold on to take over first place in the Lake Division.
“The ball hits the bag, we get a bad throw and they get down a squeeze bunt,” said Norwalk coach Wes Douglas. “That’s kind of how we’ve won some games this year. Nolan Flowers pitched as good a game as he’s ever pitched and we had some pretty solid at-bats, but they made a couple more plays than we did.”
The biggest of those plays came in the top of the sixth when the Truckers loaded the bases on a single from Kyle Smith and walks to Eli Oblinger and Sam Battles. Nate Adelman drove in pinch-runner Zach Keefer, but Garrett Obringer’s sharp liner to second was snared by Braeden George, who doubled Battles at second.
“I don’t think he could have gotten back the ball was hit so hard,” Douglas said of Battles.
Norwalk (9-3, 4-1) threatened again in the top of the seventh when Ian Minor and Leighton Battles drew walks, but Kyle Smith grounded into a double play to end the game.
‘Our defense was great today,” said Blake Smith, who is 3-0 after allowing a run on four hits with three strikeouts and five walks. “I let some of the umpire’s balls get in my head (in the sixth and seventh innings) and I can’t do that. It’s all about small ball and playing smart. Baseball is a game of the brain.”
Adelman had two hits in the game, including a first-inning double that he tried to stretch into a triple but was thrown out. Flowers went the distance, giving up no earned runs on just three hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
“Let’s be honest, they struck the ball with more authority than we did and that was the best pitcher we’ve faced all year, bar none,” Chris Walton said. “But that’s how baseball works sometimes. We’ve been proud of our defense all year. If you look back at our box scores, we’ve committed less errors than any team we’ve played this year. If a double play should happen, we’re going to make it happen.”
Norwalk 000 001 0 — 1 4 1
Perkins 002 000 x — 2 3 0
WP: Blake Smith; LP: Nolan Flowers
2B: (N) Nate Adelman