After trailing 8-4 through four frames, the Napoleon River Bandits’ bullpen kept Van Wert scoreless and the Napoleon bats rattled off 10 unanswered runs to send the Bandits to Alaska in winning fashion on Tuesday, 14-8.
The Bandits loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth to start the rally following singles by Jacob Smith (Napoleon) and Jeron Williams (Archbold). Austin Lichty (Antwerp) was hit by a pitch to cut the deficit to 8-5 before a walk and a single by Hunter Bostater (Fairview) trimmed the lead to just one run. Finally, Brandon Shafer (Defiance) was hit by a pitch with the bases still juiced to tie things up.
Napoleon added four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to take control. Axel Shanks (Patrick Henry) doubled to center field to score a pair of runs before Zac Brickel (Hicksville) did likewise with a two-run double.
Nate Vold (Ayersville) and Shanks each added an RBI single in the eighth for more insurance runs.
Landon Willeman tripled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on a Shanks RBI groundout before Brickel recorded an RBI double and Shafer clubbed a two-run homer to tie things at four in the third.
The trio of Lichty, Austin Bostater (Fairview) and Daryke Bass (Edon) came on for the final five innings of work in the nine-inning clash and held Van Wert scoreless, allowing just two hits and combining for nine strikeouts and just one walk.
With the first half of the season complete, the Bandits will depart for their annual trip to Alaska for games in Anchorage, Kenai and Wasilla from Friday until July 7.
Van Wert 202 400 000 — 8 6 1
Napoleon 103 004 42x — 14 14 1
Records: Napoleon 15-8.
Winning pitcher: Austin Bostater (2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks). Others: Levi Gonyer, Jacob Smith, Bryer Bentley, Daryke Bass, Austin Lichty.
Losing pitcher: Brant Richardson (2.1 innings, 7 runs, 4 hits, 3 strikeouts, 4 walks). Others: Kolson Egnor, Austin Cotterman.
Leading hitters: (Van Wert) — Hayden Maples single, double; Jalen McCracken 2 singles. (Napoleon) — Zac Brickel single, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs; Axel Shanks single, double, 5 RBIs; Nathan Vold single, double, 3 runs; Hunter Bostater 2 singles; Jeron Williams 2 singles; Brandon Shafer home run, 3 RBIs; Landon Willeman triple.