BY JIM METCALFE
Times Bulletin Correspondent
DELPHOS - Jefferson's baseball team opened its season by scoring 18 runs in a doubleheader split Saturday versus Van Wert.
The Wildcats continued to pile up the runs on a windy, cold Monday night at Wildcat Field, holding off Kalida 10-6 in non-league action.
The Wildcats (2-1) compiled 10 hits, with leadoff man Ross Thompson going 2-for-3, scoring three runs and stealing two bases, with Zach Ricker and Austin Jettinghoff adding 2-for-3 days. Zach Kimmett scored twice and Tyler Wrasman knocked in two.
"We got some good swings and hit today. Saturday, we did it by showing patience at the plate," Jefferson head coach Doug Geary explained. "Today, we put the bat on the ball and got some nice hits. To get this much offense on a cold, windy day is a good day. We didn't take advantage of bases loaded in the opening inning but we did the second."
Tyler Rice got the win with the start, going 3 2/3 innings allowing three hits and one earned run while issuing three walks,and striking out six.
Brent Hovest led the nine-hit Kalida (0-1) offense with a 3-for-4 day, scoring twice and stealing a pair of bases, while Austin Smith went 2-for-5. Neil Recker scored twice and swiped three bases.
Kyle Kehres took the loss with three innings as the starter. He surrendered six hits, six runs - three earned - while walking one and striking out three.
Rebuilding Kalida committed seven errors in the field. The team is replacing 14 graduated seniors.
"We have to find some positions with so many new faces. Graduating all those guys means we have a lot of youngsters in there," Kalida mentor Jim McBride noted. "We have to settle in defensively and make some plays there but overall, it was what I expected for our first game."
The visiting Wildcats got on board in the top of the first against Rice. Recker singled sharply to left to start it, then stole second and third. An out later, he scored on a bloop to short right by Kehres - an error on the play put the batter at second. Rob Kleman then walked and, an out later, a wild pitch moved both up and Kyle Vorst walked to load the bases.
However, Kalida stranded the base-runners.
Jefferson retaliated with one in the home half against Kehres. Thompson walked on four pitches and swiped second. An error on the play allowed him to head to third, and he scored on a wild pitch. An out later, Jettinghoff walked, Kimmett singled to left and Drew Kortokrax was hit by a pitch to load the sacks. However, a called third strike and a groundout ended that threat at 1-1.
The host Cats exploded for five in the second. With two down, Thompson tripled to the fence in right center and Ricker sliced a run-scoring knock to center. In turn, he swiped second and scored on a solid knock to center by Jettinghoff. Ricker stole second and scored as Kimmett got aboard via an error.
Kortokrax followed with a sharp single to center. Wrasman launched a high fly ball down the right-field. With the wind blowing that way and rightfielder Adam Knueve completely losing the ball in the sun, it fell for a two-run triple, plating Kimmett and Kortokrax for a 6-1 edge.
In the Delphos fourth, Ricker grounded a double into left center against Kalida reliever Kyle Landin. An out later, Kimmett got aboard on a two-base throwing error, with Ricker crossing the dish. Kortokrax moved Kimmett to third with a bounceout. He scored on a bloop to short center by Wrasman for an 8-1 Jefferson lead.
Kalida got a run in the fifth. Swift lined up the gut to lead off and stole second. Landin walked but was forced at second by Kleman, putting Swift at third. Gerding flied out deep enough to center to get the swift Swift home for an 8-2 deficit. Vorst got aboard on a two-base throwing error but Randy Zeller's comebacker ended that threat.
Delphos scored its final two tallies in the home half. Wollenhaupt lined a sinking hit to left to start it and advanced on a wild toss. With one down, Thompson beat out a nibbler to third and quickly stole second. Ricker flied out deep enough to right to get Wollenhaupt home and move Thompson to third.
He scored on a liner to left by Jettinghoff.
The visitors got within 10-5 in the top of the sixth. Hovest ripped a single up the gut, and Knueve beat out an infield hit to short. Recker got a free pass to load the bases. Swift bounced one wide of first, and when the Wildcats were slow to cover the base he beat out an infield hit to score Hovest and leave the bases full. An out later, Kleman rapped a shot just inside the third-base line, ton plate Knueve and Recker and put Swift at third. However, Jettinghoff fanned the next batter and got a nibbler by Vorst in front of the plate that Zach Kimmett fielded and threw to first to end the uprising.
Jordan Herron came on in relief in the Kalida seventh. With one out, Hovest singled up the middle and swiped second. Recker got aboard via an error, scoring Hovest for a 10-6 deficit.
"We were hoping to get four innings out of Tyler Rice. He's our sixth pitcher, but he has the stuff to be our second or third any given day," Geary added. "He also made a big defensive play to get us out of a big inning in the fourth. We have to keep playing good defense like that because that will be one of our keys this year."
McBride wasn't surprised about his team coming back late in the game.
"I expect that. These guys have a lot of pride and athleticism. I'd have been disappointed had we not battled back," he added. "I started three freshmen and a sophomore today with some inexperienced juniors and seniors. We just have to shore up our effort but we'll work at it."
Jefferson hosts Hardin Northern at 5 p.m. Wednesday, while Kalida hosts Miller City Monday.
Neil Recker c 4-2-1-0, Austin Swift cf 5-1-2-1, Kyle Kehres p 2-0-1-1, Kyle Landin p 1-0-0-0, Rob Kleman 1b 3-0-1-2, Trent Gerding ss 3-0-0-1, Kyle Vorst lf 3-0-0-0, Randy Zeller 2b 3-0-0-0, Colton Farrell oh 1-0-0-0, Brent Hovest 3b 4-2-3-0, Adam Knueve rf 1-0-0-0, Austin Horstman rf 2-1-1-0. Totals 32-6-9-5.
Ross Thompson ss 3-3-2-0, Zach Ricker 3b/1b 3-2-2-2, Austin Jettinghoff c/p/3b 3-1-2-2, Zach Kimmett 1b/c 4-2-1-1, Drew Kortokrax dh 3-0-1-0, Tyler Rice p/3b/1b 0-0-0-0, Jordan Herron p 0-0-0-0, Tyler Wrasman 2b 3-1-1-2, Zavier Buzard cf 4-0-0-0, Seth Wollenhaupt rf 4-1-1-0, Gage Townsend-Schleeter lf 3-0-0-0. Totals 30-10-10-7.
Score by Innings:
Kalida 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 - 6
Jefferson 1 5 0 2 2 0 x - 10
E: Recker 2, Gerding 2, Zeller 2, Hovest, Thompson, Wrasman; LOB: Kalida 11, Jefferson 7; 2B: Ricker; 3B: Thompson; SB: Recker 3, Hovest 2, Thompson 2, Swift, Vorst, Ricker, Jettinghoff, Buzard; SF: Gerding, Ricker.