Little things make a big difference in winning baseball games and the Galion Tigers can attest to that.
Galion battled Jonathan Alder all the way before dropping its MOAC Red Division contest, 5-2. The Pioneers remain undefeated in conference play at 13-0 and 17-2 overall.
“Had we done the small things right, getting bunts down, the bunt and runs and throwing strikes early in the count, I think it might be a different story,” Galion head coach Phil Jackson said. “Overall I think we battled well and I think our defense showed up.”
Alder took a 2-0 lead in the opening inning on a pair of RBI singles from John Peters and Ian Gehres.
Galion came right back in the bottom of the first inning and tied the game at 2-2 on a two-out Nick McDaniel single that scored Garrett Kuns and Matt Hardy. McDaniel, a multi-sport athlete, was recently inserted into the lineup and provided a needed quality at bat.
“McDaniel hasn’t been here a lot but when he is here he seems to produce and he’s a good kid in the dugout,” Jackson said.
Alder sent eight players to the plate in a three-run fifth inning effort that put the game out of reach. The Pioneers used four singles, a base on balls and a hit batter to score their runs.
John Peter’s complete game effort was enough for the Pioneers to hold off the Tigers. Peters allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out seven Galion hitters.
Galion faced Peters in its first meeting at Alder.
“He seemed to have more gas than when we were down there. He just throws non-stop 12-6 curve balls, it’s hard to hit and he really spotted it well,” said Jackson. “Our guys recognized it better today and didn’t fall for it a lot.”
Matt Hardy and Tyler Castline each had two hits for the Tigers, who struggled against Peters.
“We had a couple of at bats where we just needed to put the ball in play and we didn’t get it done,” Jackson said. “The difference in a game when you’re in a tournament setting or playing a team the quality of Jonathan Alder is getting all of the little things you work on done correctly, that would have put more runs on the board and maybe produced a different result.”
Will Donahue started for Galion. The lefty was tabbed by Jackson with the hope of keeping the Pioneer hitters off-balance.
“Alder is used to seeing guys throwing in the low to mid 80s and I wanted to throw Donahue who throws in the upper 70s against a team that hits like that” Jackson said.
Donahue’s inability to throw strikes negated his effectiveness.
“Donahue kept getting behind in the count and he reduced his velocity and never threw his curve ball because he was behind a lot,” Jackson said.
Donahue lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks, with only one strike out.
Jackson said he sees improvement in the teams play.
“We’ve grown in our approach in at bats against quality pitching and we’ve grown as a team,” he said. “I’m excited about the tournament, I think we’ll have a great run. We have a few things to work on, when we get those things right we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
Galion will host North Union on April 29.
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