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(Updated 9:20 p.m.) Otsego baseball rallies for 4-3 win over Eastwood in battle of NBC unbeatens. PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Monday, 06 May 2013 19:50
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Otsego’s Drake Johnson is surrounded by his teammates after he hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Knights a 4-3 win Monday over Eastwood. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
TONTOGANY — Drake Johnson suffered a broken leg on Oct. 19, 2012 in Otsego’s football game against Lake.
Despite the break, Johnson was determined to come back and play baseball this spring.
A senior, Johnson went through an extensive rehabilitation and has emerged as a key member for the Knights, now 7-0 in the Northern Buckeye Conference.
His biggest contribution of the season, so far, was a one-out bases-loaded double in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday against Eastwood. PHOTO GALLERY
Johnson’s two-RBI hit helped the Knights rally for a 4-3 victory in a battle of NBC unbeatens. Both teams entered the game 6-0 in league play.
‘‘I went to therapy two or three times a week every week. I did stuff at home, during gym class and during weight training. I did it two or three times a day most of the time,’’ Johnson said about rehabilitation.
Chase Welker, Otsego’s head coach, said Johnson has been a key component for the Knights, now 10-5 overall.
‘‘He’s had a number of big hits this year,’’ Welker said. ‘‘He has stepped into that clutch hitter’s role; he had the game-winning hit against Lake as well.
‘‘He was the right guy in the right spot.’’
Collin Austin worked a walk to start the bottom of the seventh and was sacrificed to second by Nate Hackworth.
Ryan Smoyer followed with a sharp single to move Austin to third. On the throw into the infield, Smoyer moved up to second base.
The Eagles then intentionally walked Hunter Donald, who was 2-for-3, to load the bases.
Johnson stepped in and ripped a double to right-center field to score Austin and Smoyer. He said the pitch was a straight fastball on the outside part of the plate.
There was a positive feeling in the dugout in the seventh inning, Johnson said, even though Otsego had left two runners on in the sixth.
‘‘We just went into it to hit the ball, score these runs and go home with the win,’’ Johnson said.
‘‘The magnitude of that game, you have two 6-0 teams going at each other, it lived up to expectations,’’ Welker said. ‘‘I told our guys coming into this game, they are not going to give us anything. If we get behind early or get ahead early, we have to stay on our game because they are going to keep coming at us.
‘‘They did, but we were strong enough to fight it off and get those two at the end.’’
It was a frustrating ending for Eastwood, but Eagles’ head coach Kevin Leady was quick to point out it’s only one game in the 14-game league schedule. The Eagles are 13-4 overall.
‘‘When we play them again, we will be ready,’’ Leady said. ‘‘They did what they were supposed to do — they won on their home field. We need to do the same on Thursday.’’
Otsego got two runs in the first inning on a throwing error and on Donald’s double. Grant Peters out the final two outs in the first to minimize the damage.
Eastwood tied the game in the top of the second inning. With one out, Zach Coffield reached on an infield single and Jake Schmeltz reached on a walk.
Todd Miller followed with an RBI single and then after an out, Skylar Dierker hit a RBI single to tie the game. Hackworth got out of the inning on a fielder’s choice grounder.
The Eagles took the lead in the top of the third inning. After two were out, Peters reached on a single and Coffield followed with a walk. Peters then scored on a throwing error, but Hackworth got out of the inning with a strike out.
‘‘Our kids battle to the last pitch,’’ Leady said. ‘‘They are fighters, they want to win.
‘‘Our program hasn’t won anything in a long time and that’s their goal.’’
After a leadoff infield single by David Krukemyer in the fourth inning, Eastwood did not have another hit in the game, although the Eagles did receive two walks and had runners each on a hit-by-pitch and an error.
Otsego had only two hits until the seventh inning. The Knights also had two base runners reach on errors, two on walks, and another on a hit-by-pitch between the first and seventh.
Otsego plays at Lake Wednesday while Eastwood hosts Woodmore. Otsego then plays a makeup game at Eastwood Thursday.

OTSEGO 4, EASTWOOD 3
EASTWOOD    021    000    0—3    5    3
OTSEGO    200    000    2—4    5   3
BATTING LEADERS
HITS — (E) Peters, Coffield, Miller, Krukemyer, Dierker; (O) Donald 2, Smoyer, Johnson, Williams. 2B — (O) Donald, Johnson. RUNS — (E) Peters, Coffield, Schmeltz; (O) Austin 2, Smoyer 2. RBI — (E) Miller, Dierker; (O) Johnson 2, Donald. SB — (O) Hackworth. SAC — (O) Hackworth. HBP — (E) Coffield (by Hackworth); (O) Miller (by Peters). DP — Otsego 1. LOB — Eastwood 8, Otsego 9.
PITCHING SUMMARY
IP    H    R    ER    BB SO
EASTWOOD
Peters    6    4    2    1    3    5
Luther (LP) 1-3    2    2    2    2    0
OTSEGO
Hackworth    6    5    3    2    4    4
Smoyer (WP)    1    0    0    0    0    1
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 10:07
 

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