SPARTA — In a game with 11 combined hits the Highland Scots got eight in a dual between East Knox and Highland’s aces, with the Scots edging out the Bulldogs at home 5-0 to pull into a three-way tie for first in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference.
“It was a fun old-school style baseball game,” Highland coach Don Kline said. “These are the kind of games where the team that makes the least mistakes typically ends up on the winning side. We expected this kind of game.”
Highland’s Mack Anglin and East Knox’s Nate Friel kept their teams in it for several innings of deadlocked baseball. Anglin took the mound first and after giving up a single, recorded three-straight outs, with two of them coming by way of strikeout.
“I love competing against really good teams like that,” Anglin said. “Right away, I’m already ready to go right at them and give them my best and have them beat my best. I love games like that and pitching against great competition.”
Friel matched Anglin in his half of the inning, giving up a leadoff single, followed by three outs in a row.
Highland got its bats going a bit in the bottom of the third. Tate Tobin hit a leadoff double and Cody Matthews got aboard on a single that put Tobin on third. Highland implemented a double steal and while Matthews was tagged out in a pickle at first, Tobin snuck home for the games first run. A Bulldog error later in the inning scored Anglin to put the lead at 2-0.
“We wanted to score first and put a little pressure on them,” Kline said. “In our pre-game planning, our job was really just to find any way that we could to score.”
Over the next two innings, East Knox put five runners on the bags, but were unable to score any of them, sending the game into the bottom of the fifth where the Scots took advantage. Rider Minnick slapped a single to score Tobin, while Randy Cain, who was baserunning for Anglin, scored on a Clayton Schindley single. Reese Weissenfluh laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Minnick and the score was quickly run up to 5-0.
After three-straight outs in the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs got two runners on in the seventh, but were unable to get either of them to scoring position, ending the inning and the game.
Anglin pitched a stellar game, hurling six innings with three hits allowed, while fanning 13 and walking two.
“His off-speed pitch was really giving them trouble,” Kline said. “That team really devours fast balls. They’re a very good hitting team. I think everybody knows that one through nine they hit the baseball so we tried to keep them off a little bit.”
Jack Weaver came on for an inning of relief with a strikeout and two walks.
At the plate, Tobin had three hits and two runs, while Schindley turned in two hits and an RBI of his own. Matthews, Minnick and Zach Wetzel each had a base knock.
On the mound for the Bulldogs, Friel threw all six innings with eight hits and three earned runs with two strikeouts.
“I’m really proud of Nate Friel,” East Knox coach Randy Baugher said. “He is a good pitcher and he has gotten better and better and is a real competitor and didn’t back down at all. Pitch for pitch, I thought he was right there.”
In the batter’s box for the Bulldogs, Caleb Gallwitz, Weston Melick and Dawson David each had a single.
After Monday’s results, the Bulldogs and Scots are in a three-way tie at the top of the KMAC with the Fredericktown Freddies, all at 9-2 in the league. East Knox is now 13-2 overall, while the Scots are 11-4. The two teams will square off again today in Howard, with a first pitch at 5:15 p.m.
“The great thing about baseball is there’s another game tomorrow,” Baugher said. “Unlike a lot of sports where you’ve got wait a week or whatever, we’re back at it tomorrow so that’s the good thing about it. Total confidence in them. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night.”