CONVOY -- The pitchers -- Crestview's Tanner Crowle and Spencerville's Jake Meyer -- were both sharp in Monday's Northwest Conference matchup. The difference was that Meyer had one bad inning -- the third -- and the result was a 3-1 Crestview victory. The Knights are now 6-2 overall and 2-0 in the NWC. The Bearcats are 5-7 and 2-1.
"Very pleased with our kids," said Crestview coach Jim Wharton. "Defensively, we were sound, solid. When we needed the play, we got the play. Tanner Crowle just pitched a phenomenal game. He battled the whole way. When he needed to get the ground out or when he needed to get the lazy flyball he got it, and when he needed to get the strikeout he got it."
In the fateful bottom of the third, Crestview scored three runs without the benefit of a hit. First baseman Derek Stout led off with a walk, and third baseman Caden Hurless did likewise. Meyer bobbled centerfielder Brant Richardson's bunt to fill the bases. Shortstop Spencer Rolsten walked to drive in Stout. Two wild pitches then brought in Hurless and Richardson -- 3-0, Knights, after three.
From that point on, Meyer was superb. He struck out the next seven Knights and didn't allow another baserunner until giving up two infield singles in the sixth. In total, he yielded three runs, two earned, on only three hits. He ended the game with 11 strikeouts, and only two of Crestview's batted balls reached the outfield.
"Jake Meyer is a top-flight pitcher," said Wharton. "He by far has thrown the best against our club this year. We were able to get to him there in the third. Stout (who led off the inning) had a great at-bat, because he went down 0-2, and then he drew the walk. Then we followed it up with some walks, then we got the bunt down, and then Jake got a little wild and put some to the backstop."
Meanwhile, although Spencerville hitters made solid contact many times, Crowle and the Crestview defense constantly rose to the occasion. The Cats did score a run in the top of the sixth on a walk to shortstop Damon Blair, single by catcher Brady Becker, and RBI single by first baseman Thad Ringwald.
Spencerville came back in the top of the seventh to threaten again. Right fielder Luke Marker led off with a walk. Left fielder Kale Lee followed up with a single to center, putting runners on first and second. Marker moved to third on an errant pickoff throw, and the Bearcats had runners on the corners with no outs. However, Crowle picked Lee off at first, eliminating the potential tying run, then retired the next two batters with no damage.
"It was a typical night for us," said Spencerville coach Shane Falke. "We've been striking the ball really well all year. I call those "at 'em balls" -- we're hitting right at 'em. We had a really rough (third) inning there. When you're against a tough team like Crestview, you can't afford to have a bad inning like that."
Crestview DH Dylan Hicks was the only batter on either team with more than one hit -- 2 for 3, including the game's only extra base hit, a second inning double. Right fielder Jacob Painter had the other Knight hit. Spencerville's five hits, all singles, came from Meyer, Becker, Ringwald, Lee, and second baseman Brady Nolan.
Jake Meyer p 4-0-1-0, Damon Blair ss 2-0-0-0, Brady Nolan 2b 3-1-1-0, Brady Becker c 3-0-1-0, Thad Ringwald 1b 3-0-1-1, Chandler Kahle 3b 2-0-0-0, Luke Market rf 2-0-0-0, Kale Lee lf 3-0-1-0, Austin Gallimore dh 3-0-0-0, Justin Thiery cf 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-5-1.
Caden Hurless 3b 1-1-0-0, Brant Richardson cf 1-1-0-0, Spencer Rolsten ss 2-0-0-1, Luke Gerardot c 3-0-0-0, Zech Simerman 2b 3-0-0-0, Jacob Painter rf 3-0-1-0, Dylan Hicks dh 3-0-2-1, Tanner Crowle p 0-0-0-0, Derek Biro lf 3-0-0-0, Derek Stout 1b 1-1-0-0. Totals 20-3-3-1.
Errors -- Meyer, Crowle. LOB -- SV 6, CV 5. Sac Bunts -- Richardson 2. Double -- Hicks.
SV 000 001 0 - 1 5 1
CV 003 000 x - 3 3 1
Meyer (L) 6-3-3-2-4-11.
Crowle (W) 7-5-1-1-3-6.
Pitches/Strikes -- Meyer 117/64, Crowle 105/66.