WEST UNITY — Hilltop coach Isaac VanArsdalen couldn’t help but think about missed opportunities.
As Edon tacked on its runs in an opening round matchup in the Williams County ACME Sectional Tournament, Hilltop couldn’t get out of its own way.
The Bombers tallied nine hits, and paired with five Cadet errors, pulled away for a 7-3 win at Hilltop High School on Friday.
“They know what they did, all I had to tell them was to let that one sting for a bit,” VanArsdalen said. “If we go error-less, it’s a closer ballgame, or closer than what the scoreboard shows. You’ve got to win the error battle.”
Aided by a big fifth inning, Edon (which was the home team due to tournament seeding) scored four runs to extend its lead to 6-0 and effectively put the game out of reach. Hilltop was able to add three of its own in the top of the sixth, but couldn’t get within striking distance of Edon’s lead.
In that fifth inning, Hilltop committed two errors, the first of which would’ve ended the inning. Instead, the Bombers took the opportunity and seized control of the game with a walk and two hits to add four runs after the error.
“Every single kid has hit the ball, and they’ve hit it when they’ve needed them to,” Edon coach Preston Klingler said. “We had three runs with two outs and that’s huge. If you can do that against any team, that’s going to crush them and put them away.”
On the bump, Aidan Muehlfeld threw all seven innings for Edon and struck out nine batters. He allowed just five hits, all of which came in the first and sixth innings. He also added an RBI triple in the first inning to get things working for the Bomber offense.
“He’s the efficient pitcher that we know him for,” Klingler said. “He just comes in, throws strikes and pounds the zone. He’s not going to strike people out, but that’s perfect if the defense is working behind him.”
Opposite Muehlfeld, Kaiden Clendenin pitched for the Cadets. He allowed just six hits, but six runs crossed the plate when he was on the mound. Just one of those runs was earned.
As the Cadets committed multiple errors in the field, the Bombers were able to ride the wave to a victory in the opening round. And not only does the win put Edon in the winner’s bracket, there’s benefits to roster management as well.
“It’s huge, it saves us games in the long run, as long as we win our next game,” Klingler said. “That’ll help us pitching-wise, confidence-wise it’s a huge thing. Keeps us out of the heat, too.”
The Bombers will face North Central today in Bryan at 11 a.m.
On the other side of the game was Hilltop, which will now have to win three games to make it to the tournament final. Clendenin threw below 75 pitches, meaning he’ll be available for Monday’s game, should Hilltop need him.
Now, though, the Cadets will face Montpelier in a win-or-go-home game at Hilltop at 11 a.m., where everyone on the team will have to be ready if need be.
“Anybody pitches,” VanArsdalen said. “If you’ve got an arm attached to your body, you’re out there. So, we’ve got a chance at it.”