WAUSEON -- Giving good baseball teams extra outs in an inning is never good, and walking multiple batters in an inning almost never turns out well, either.
Wauseon found that out on Saturday afternoon against Defiance, as miscues and early walks helped the Bulldogs grab an early lead on the way to a 10-3 victory.
"We didn't make some routine plays, we gave them extra outs and they had some big two-out hits," stated Wauseon mentor Trent Thomas. "When you give a team like that breathing room, they're going to take advantage of it."
Defiance took advantage of a pair of walks with one out in the first inning to Dom Romero and Rob Zeigler, before Derek Turner's single off the glove of Wauseon second baseman Jacob Newlove scored Romero for a quick 1-0 Defiance lead.
Wauseon starter Jake Trejo struck out Dom Gentile for the second out, but a walk to Joe Keween loaded the bases for Weston Rivers. The Defiance first baseman singled up the middle to score Zeigler and Turner and Defiance led 3-0 after a half inning.
Rivers, who finished with five RBIs, was at it again in the second inning, coming to bat with two runs already in for DHS, with two outs and the bases loaded again.
The 6-4 senior delivered with a single to right that plated Turner and Gentile, pushing Defiance's advantage to 7-1 heading into the bottom of the second.
"They had some mistakes and we were able to take advantage of that in the first two innings," said Defiance head coach Tom Held. "In our scrimmages, our opponents didn't make any errors, but today we got those breaks and it was good to take advantage of them. Weston had a great day, driving in big runs with two outs. You take those away and it's an entirely different ballgame."
Rivers and Zeigler, who started the game on the hill for Defiance, were both happy to see the Bulldogs take an early lead on the Indians.
"It felt great to swing the bat well today, especially since I didn't hit well in our scrimmages," said Rivers, who pitched the final two innings for the Bulldogs. "I hit the ball pretty hard, and driving in those runs was big for our team."
Said Zeigler: "The three runs in the first inning were a big comfort, going out to the mound after that made my job easier. I felt pretty good overall."
Gentile, Defiance's third baseman, also had a hand in keeping the Indians off the scoreboard with a big defensive play in the third.
With two outs, Wauseon had Trejo on third and Collin Bzovi on second with Josh Cales at the plate. Cales hit a hard grounder that looked like a single down the third-base line. Gentile not only got to the ball, but came up throwing to just gun down Cales at first to end the threat.
The Indians scratched one across in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by Josh Kauffman that scored Axel Bueter, but Zeigler closed the door to keep DHS in front, 7-2.
"We had runners on base pretty much all day against a quality pitcher, probably the best pitcher in our area, but we couldn't come up with a big hit when we had the chance," Thomas said. "I thought we swung the bats pretty well, but they made some non-routine plays. We didn't make the routine plays, and that's the difference in the ballgame."
The 'Dogs added two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh, while the Indians scored one in the final frame before the Bulldogs closed out the 10-3 victory.
"We needed this today because we didn't play well in our scrimmages," concluded Held. "Wauseon is as talented as we are, but again, we took advantage of some miscues and landed the knockout punch early."
Defiance returns to action on Thursday at home against Findlay, while Wauseon is back in action today at Rossford.
Defiance 340 002 1 - 10 10 2
Wauseon 100 100 1 - 3 4 4
Records: Defiance 1-0, Wauseon 0-1.
Winning pitcher: Rob Zeigler (5 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks). Other: Weston Rivers.
Losing pitcher: Jake Trejo (5 innings, 7 runs, 5 hits, 6 strikeouts, 5 walks). Other: Dugan Shadbolt.
Leading hitters: (Defiance, 10 hits) - Dom Romero 2 singles; Rob Ziegler double; Derek Turner 2 singles; Weston Rivers 2 singles, 5 RBI; Wade Verhoff double. (Wauseon, 4 hits).