WEST UNITY — Montpelier and Hilltop’s ACME teams played two different games on Thursday.
The first game was a close 6-3 win for the Cadets, which they broke open in the sixth inning to take an insurmountable lead and earn the win.
The second game was never close, as the Locomotives scored three in the first and second innings, as well as four in the fourth inning to take a 10-2 win in four innings.
“We’ve done really well, I’m glad everyone is hitting the ball,” Montpelier coach Tim Sanders said. “I’m really pleased with the kids coming out, swinging the bats and putting the ball in play. As early as it is, I’m tickled. We’re playing good ball.”
Montpelier managed just three hits in the second game, but took advantage of six Hilltop errors — five of which came in the first two innings.
Jay Garrett got the start for the Cadets in the second game, but threw just 1 1/3 innings, in part due to errors behind him. All three Montpelier hits came in the first two innings. It had a 6-2 lead after the first two innings.
“We’ve had three days of practice, so just teaching fundamentals,” Hilltop coach Isaac VanArsdalen said. “Going back to the fundamentals of baseball would’ve probably saved us maybe two, three runs. Errors will kill you.”
Gavin Wurm pitched 2 2/3 for the Locos in the second game and threw 2 2/3 innings with four strikeouts.
The Cadets’ two runs in the first two innings weren’t enough offense, though, as the Cadets lost by eight runs despite having only one less hit.
“We have the Fairview tournament coming up. I think that will help our guys quite a bit,” VanArsdalen said. “Our first baseman, who in the first innings had two of the errors, hasn’t played since he was in the fourth grade. Other than that, first game was nice.”
The first game was controlled by Kaiden Clendenin, who threw all seven innings and allowed just five hits. He struck out eight and allowed a lone walk.
Montpelier used a pitcher-by-committee approach and had Brayden Custer and Collin Crisenbery throw three and two innings, respectively.
They weren’t enough, though, to keep down the Hilltop offense, which took an early 2-1 lead then added four runs in the sixth inning. The Cadets had three errors in the seventh inning, which led to two Montpelier runs, but closed the door to earn the win.
“We’ve faced some decent pitching, but we’ve hit the ball,” Sanders said. “I’m really impressed with that. It seems like it doesn’t matter who they bring in, we’ll put the ball in play. That’s huge.”