PEMBERVILLE — Eastwood’s baseball team cruised past Rossford Monday afternoon, 9-1, in a Northern Buckeye Conference game.
Eastwood (24-0), the No. 1 team in the Division III state coaches’ poll, scored all nine of their runs within the first four innings of the game.
Rossford (12-11) did not have an answer for Eastwood’s offensive firepower until the seventh inning when Alex Williams scored the team’s only run of the afternoon.
The first time Eastwood faced Rossford, the Eagles narrowly beat the Bulldogs, 8-7.
“We know what Rossford brings. They’re going to be well-coached,” Eastwood coach Kevin Leady said. “They’re going to be tough. They’re going to be gritty and are going to play well.”
Eastwood had already clinched an NBC championship, but this rivalry game was still important to each squad.
“Every game is big for us. Obviously when we play Eastwood, it means a little more since they are on top of the league and undefeated right now,” Rossford coach Marc Diels said. “Hopefully we get good pitching and defense and put some runs on the board and have a good game.”
Pitching and defense were the names of the game. Both teams credited their pitching and defense as their biggest strengths.
“Pitching and defense has been a strength for us this season,” Diels said. “We kind of faltered offensively, they picked us up and our pitchers have done a nice job this year.”
Leady said, “Our approach every time is to take everything one game at a time. What I like most about our team is the way we pitch and the way we play defense.
“We talk to our kids all the time. Hitting comes and goes, but if we can pitch and play defense, we expect to have a change later in the game.”
Eastwood’s pitching and defense came out on top with Ethan Rapp having a remarkable performance. Rapp struck out 11, walked four, allowed three hits and one run over seven innings, throwing 99 pitches, including 59 strikes to 26 batters.
“I just feel awesome. We’re 14-0 in the league and 24-0 overall. It just feels great to come out and finish strong in the league,” Rapp said.
“We take every game 0 and 0, so we come out no matter who we’re playing. We give the opposing team our best.”
Leady added, “Ethan did an exceptional job today. He battled the whole day. He got his pitches over for strikes and overall did a great job.”
Jackson Yerkes started on the mound for the Bulldogs, striking out two, walking one, allowing six hits and five earned runs through 2.1 innings. In relief, Landen Reiter struck out five, walked two, allowed three hits and one earned run through 3.2 innings.
Yerkes took the loss as Eastwood put up two runs in the first, three in the second, one in the third, and added three more in the fourth.
At the plate for the Eagles, Jordan Pickerel was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, Case Boos had a triple, Colton Woodward and Andrew Badenhop doubled, and Tristan Schuerman, Jackson Bauer, and Rapp had base hits.
The Eagles had 12 stolen bases, including three each by Boos and Bauer, and one each by Schuerman, Rapp, Kadyn Donnell, Isaac Reynolds, Woodward and Pickerel. Reynolds reached base after getting hit by a pitch.
Williams had a double for the Bulldogs, Brandon Swope had a base hit and was hit by a pitch, and Jackson Grimm had a base hit.
Eastwood plays Perrysburg tomorrow in a non-league game.