North Union catcher Ashden Turrill applies the tag to Grant Rausch of Fairbanks at plate. Rausch was called out on the play. The Wildcats rallied for a 3-2 victory.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
With the conference schedule in the books and tournament time just around the corner, two Union County baseball teams came together to tune up their games on Monday.
The contest was tough battle for both squads, but it was the Wildcats of North Union who got the best of the Fairbanks Panthers, winning 3-2.
“I would say we did a pretty good job of playing the type of baseball we want to play,” said NU head coach Klarke Ransome. “I think we could done a few things better here and there, but that is why we play.
“We are able to see it and hopefully fix it in the next couple of days and be ready to go.”
Zach Ahern got the nod to take the hill for the Wildcats and was able to keep the Panthers off the board in the first inning.
The North Union lineup faced Weston Lorenz for Fairbanks and was able to strike early against him.
Trevyn Feasel reached second base on an error in left field and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Joel Krebehenne.
Carson Newell earned a free pass and took second on a steal.
Anthony Padovano picked up an RBI with a hit to give NU a 1-0 lead after the opening frame.
FHS head coach Josh Rine said a few errors was the difference between a win and a loss.
“Most of their runs where gifted to them,” he said. “We had two balls in left field, if we make routine plays, they don’t score. That’s baseball for you.”
The Panthers answered NU’s run when Alex Blumenschein reached on an error and was able to work his way around the bases.
He scored when Lorenz hit a ball to right field that the Wildcats struggled to field.
That tied the score at 1-1 through two innings.
The Wildcats called on the bullpen in the third, bringing Padovano to the bump. He kept FHS’ side of the scoreboard clear in the third.
Fairbanks, however, added the go-ahead run in the fourth when Blumenschein singled and later worked his way home on Jaden Eickhoff’s base hit.
Rine said his ball club has been playing good ball lately, but said it has to find a way to move runners when the chances presents themselves.
“I think talent-wise, we are right up there with anyone,” he said. “We’ve just got a find a way to win the close ones and the last couple we haven’t.
“Hopefully, Lady Luck is on side come Thursday.”
The Wildcats rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Micah Orr took a pitch off his knee to put a Wildcat at first.
Feasel hit a shot deep to third base and legged out an infield single.
Krebehenne blasted the ball deep to right that plated the Wildcats’ run to tie the game at 2-2.
Newell hit a shot to shortstop that drove in a run for NU’s 3-2 lead.
Ransome said it was good to see his ball club hitting the ball.
“I think we hit it really well,” he said. “Ash smoked one to center and we had some other guys that swung it well.
“That is good to see because that last couple games, we didn’t swing it great,” he said. “Hopefully, guys are getting some more confidence, so this was definitely a good tune-up for Thursday.”
Riley Young closed out the game and got the save with a strikeout in the seventh for NU.
The Wildcats (17-6) will return to action on Thursday when they face the winner of Columbus Academy vs., Madison Plains to open Division III tournament action.
Fairbanks (17-8) will host Worthington Christian today in a final tune-up before entering the D-III post-season on Thursday at home against Johnstown.
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