AYERSVILLE — Napoleon Post No. 300 got solid outings on offense, defense and on the mound as the River Bandits opened the District 1 American Legion tournament on Saturday with an 11-0 blanking of Findlay Post #3.
The Bandits set the tone early, tallying four runs in the first and adding six more in the second.
“Anytime you can jump out to a 10-0 lead after two innings, it’s not 100% comfortable, but we were feeling pretty good about ourselves,” said Napoleon coach Chad Bonsbach.
Kaleb Woods (Napoleon) did his part to supply runs. After Blake Altaffer (Montpelier) drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly and Breven Deckrosh (Bryan) made it 2-0 on a wild pitch, Woods lifted a high fly ball deep into the left field sky to quickly put Napoleon on top 4-0.
He highlighted a six-run second with a three-run shot to conclude the scoring in the inning.
“It felt great, having some nice pitches right down the middle,” the Wildcat said of his first two at-bats. “The second at-bat, I just sat curveball. I figured it would come. It was right where I wanted it.”
Altaffer opened the scoring in the second with a base hit to left. Caleb Frank (Fairview) added a hit that plated two more runs.
The big lead allowed the Bandits to use two hurlers to help with pitch count numbers. Altaffer started and worked the first three innings, exiting with 51 pitches and a bases-loaded jam.
“In a tournament setting that is so compact, in terms of games, getting out to the big lead like that allowed us to be a little more quick with getting our No. 1 pitcher out,” stated Donsbach. “It allows him to come back later in the week.”
Nathaniel Adkins (Fairview) came in and closed it out, fanning eight in four solid innings.
“Nate has really found his groove lately,” said Donsbach. “Early in the season, he struggled a little bit. He’s played a ton of baseball this summer with us and ACME, and now he’s found his groove. Having him come out of the bullpen is awesome.”
With the win, Napoleon moves into the winner’s bracket championship game on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Memorial Park in Ottawa.
“You get beat in the first one (game) and you’re playing at 9 in the morning,” Donsbach said of avoiding multiple games on Sunday. “That is going to be a tough turnaround. Now, we can sit back and relax and the kids and sleep in. We’re playing at 6 (p.m.) and that’s huge.”
Four games will be played at Ottawa on Sunday during the compressed district tournament. Findlay and Pemberville play in an elimination game at 9 a.m., followed by a game in the winner’s bracket between Ottawa and Toledo. The winner of the first game of the day will play the loser of the second game at 3 p.m. Napoleon will close the day at 6 p.m. against the Ottawa/Toledo winner.
Napoleon 460 100 0 — 11 11 1
Findlay 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Record: Napoleon 25-9.
Winning pitcher: Blake Altaffer (3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts). Other: Nathaniel Adkins.
Losing pitcher: Kaleb Wilkensen (0.2 innings, 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts). Others: Mason Johnson, Trey Schroeder, Gunner Kelpling.
Leading hitters: (Napoleon) — Kaleb Woods single, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs; Caleb Frank 2 singles, 2 RBIs; Blake Altaffer single, 2 RBIs; Tanner Rubinstein single, RBI; Breven Deckrosh double. (Findlay) — 3 singles.