VAN WERT – The Van Wert Cougars decided that Thursday was the perfect night to play two games as Van Wert welcomed the Lima Bath Wildcats and Shawnee Indians to Russell Fisher field at Smiley Park. The Cougars picked up victories in both games as Van Wert beat Bath 15-0 in five innings and won 3-0 against Shawnee.

Hayden Maples started both games for Van Wert. In game one against Bath, Maples had a 10 pitch first inning before he and his teammates scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first.

With Van Wert having a 10-0 lead, the Cougars coaching staff decided to save Maples for game two. Josh Hawker got his first varsity service time on the mound as Hawker shut the wildcats down for the next four frames.

With Hawker holding Bath down, Van Wert scored five more running in route to the 15-0 victory in five innings.

“After 10 runs in the first inning, we thought what better time to give a kid his first varsity action," said Van Wert ACME baseball coach Todd Dunlap. "Hawker was able to hit his spots and pound the strikeout. He used his curve ball to keep Bath hitters off balance."

After Maples started game one, he again took the rubber to start game two and once again had a quick inning only throwing nine pitchers against Shawnee.

The match up against the Indians was more of a pitching duel. Van Wert got two runners on in each of the two innings, but Dalton Miller, the Indians pitcher, was able to escape both jams without harm.

Van Wert thought for sure they had a run in the bottom of the fourth when a passed ball gave Owen Treece the chance to score from third. Shawnee catcher had a lightning quick reactions flipping the ball to Miller who was covering the plate and Miller got the tag down just before Treece could touch the dish.

The bottom of the fifth was huge for Van Wert with one out. Maples, Ryan Hollingsworth, and Nate Temple all drove in runs with either base hits or a ground out to give Van Wert a 3-0 advance.

Maples having just been spotted a 3-0 lead, punched out all three batters in the top of the sixth to keep the score at 3-0.

Maples took the rubber in the top of the seventh working on a perfect game. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Shawnee got a lead-off walk from Nathan Number and a single from Joe Azzerello.

Maples went from trying to make history to simply trying to win the ball game for Van Wert. A quick word from his head coach after the hit and Maples retired the next three batters to give Van Wert a 3-0 victory.

“Maples had the perfect game in the seventh. I know he got mad when he walked the first guy and then that Seeing Eye Texas leaguer there," said Van Wert coach Dunlap. "We had to go calm him down and tell him he was going to have more chances at this. He go back to his fundamentals and kept the ball down and got a couple of ground balls."

With the two wins over Shawnee and Bath, Van Wert record improves to 4-2 and the Cougars will welcome the Lancers of Lincolnview to Smiley Park on Friday night.