CELINA — New day, same dominance.
The St. Marys baseball team finished off a 6-0 whitewashing of rival Celina on Wednesday behind the pitching of Nathan Wilker and an incessant offensive attack that collected 11 hits against a pair of Celina pitchers.
After thunderstorms postponed Tuesday night’s Western Buckeye League affair with two outs in the top of the fourth and the Riders leading 3-0, St. Marys picked up right where it left off.
The Riders went on a two-out rally to start Day 2 when Tristan Becker singled and went to second on a wild pitch, scoring on Mason Gross’ RBI single.
“I was worried because we only had one out to work with in the top of the fourth and if we don’t put runs on the board right away and they come in and get runs, the momentum is in their dugout,” St. Marys head coach Jeff Dieringer said. “I’m glad we with two outs were able to get a run on the board and we kept the momentum.”
Nathan Wilker went back out on the mound on Wednesday and finished off his sterling performance, a two-hitter with seven strikeouts.
“It was all based on how he said his arm felt,” Dieringer said about bringing Wilker back for a second day. “He wanted to go today. He got some running in and said he felt good. His pitch count was higher than we wanted it to be, but he did a nice job.”
Wilker threw 107 pitches over the two days, with 60 strikes.
His bid for a no-hitter ended in the bottom of the sixth on a one-out single to center by Jacob Homan that Roughrider centerfielder Tristan Becker dove for in the gap. The ball hit leather but popped out. Two batters later Brandon McGillvary singled to right field for Celina’s second and final hit of the game. Wilker wiggled out of the mini-jam by getting Jimmy Luebke to ground out softly to second base.
“There’s no secret to him,” Dieringer said. “He was around the plate. He had decent pop on his fastball. I don’t know that he mixed speeds as well as we’d like, but he did what worked and stuck with it.”
Wilker sidestepped five walks in his otherwise near-flawless game.
The Roughriders tacked on two runs in the sixth with a bloop single to right field by Dirk Fenwick and came all the way round to score from first base on a bunt single by Jared Knous and a throwing error that sent the ball flying into right field. Knous scored two batters later on a perfectly-executed safety squeeze bunted down the third base line by Gross to make it 6-0.
“Their pitchers changed speed well, but our guys stuck with it and found good pitches to hit,” Dieringer said. “They put the bat on the ball and the pitches we swung at I was pleased with.”
Gross finished the game 1 for 2 with two runs batted in. Becker was 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Nathan Wilker and Isaac Fitzgerald each had a hit and an RBI. Nathan Vogel and Knous both went 2 for 3, and Zack Wilker and Dirk Fenwick each added singles.
“They hit the ball probably better than any team we’ve seen,” Celina head coach Andy Mikesell said.
St. Marys moved to 13-3 and 4-1 in the Western Buckeye League. With Defiance’s first loss in WBL play in eight years to Wapakoneta, St. Marys is tied in the loss column for first place in the league with three big home league showdowns looming against Shawnee tonight at 5 p.m., against Defiance on Friday and against Lima Bath next Monday.