PBR Spotlight game: No. 1 Defiance vs. No. 11 Plain City Jonathan Alder

By Dylan Hefflinger

TIFFIN- Top ranked Defiance fell behind early to perennial power No. 11 ranked Jonathan Alder, but a huge 6th inning broke the game open for the Bulldogs in the 14-4 victory in the Division II Regional semis.

Down 4-2, Defiance scored eight to put the game out of reach. A double by sophomore Austin Hancock started the rally and star senior Anthony Kidston cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI double down the line in left. Unsigned senior Joe Gentile reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners and a walk to junior Robert Zeigler loaded the bases. Senior Shea Murray tied the game with a sac fly.

Another infield single by junior Dom Romero loaded the bases again for Jacob Moore and the senior shortstop put the Bulldogs on top for good with an RBI single. Junior Joe Keween walked to bring in another run, which put an end to the Pioneers' second pitcher on the night junior Brad Miller.

With the bases still loaded, sophomore Dom Gentile hit a groundball to short which Defiance captain Moore stuttered in front of the shortstop for a split second to distract Alder's Nate Squire, Ohio University recruit. Squire lost sight of the ball and it rolled into left field scoring two to push the Bulldog advantage to 8-4. A wild pitch to Hancock, up for the second time in the inning, plated Keween and as the throw from sophomore catcher Trent Kaltenbach got away from reliever senior Wes Fauver, Gentile motored around third to score the eighth run of the inning to put Defiance on top 10-4.

Defiance added some insurance runs in the top of the seventh as Zeigler started the inning off with a single. A bunt single from Murray put two runners on and Romero reached on an error by Fauver to load the bases. Moore hit a sac fly to up the lead to 11-4 and pinch-hitter, senior leader Nic Vittorio, was hit by a pitch to load the bases again. Hancock drove in a run with single and Kidston finished the scoring out with a two-RBI single to put the Bulldogs up 14-4.

Unsigned senior Tyler Batt was brought in to pitch in the 7th to save an inning for Kidston and Batt shut the door on the Pioneers.

Alder got out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Fauver hit a one-out single and, with two outs, the Bulldogs decided to walk first basemen Josh Holland. A sharply hit ball by starting pitcher Anthony Hastings resulted in an error and two consecutive singles on 0-2 pitches by senior Jared Adams and junior Pete Whitmer put the Pioneers up 3-0.

Defiance answered with one in the second and third to cut the deficit to 3-2. Moore scored on an RBI walk from Joe Gentile in the second and Dom Gentile hit a sac fly in the third.

Alder added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth as Nate Squires singled up the middle and reached second on a bad hop in the outfield and scored on an RBI single from his twin brother Nick Squires, also going to Ohio University, to put the Pioneers up 4-2.

Louisville recruit Kidston went six innings allowing four run, just one earned. The 6-foot-1 righty allowed six hits and two walks, while striking out 14.

Defiance returns to the Regional finals for the second time in three years and will face Western Buckeye League foe No. 6 ranked Wapakoneta today at Heminger field in Tiffin at 5 p.m. The game is expected to be a rematch between starting pitchers Zeigler of Defiance, a Kentucky recruit, and sophomore Chace Culver of Wapak. Defiance edged the Redskins 3-2 in that game earlier this month.