DEFIANCE — Napoleon River Bandits coach Chad Donsbach said he was just happy to get the win after Wednesday’s 7-5 eight-inning win over Ottawa at Rutter Field on the campus of Defiance College.
Coming off a nine-inning bout that saw the River Bandits lose a lead late Monday against Ottawa, Napoleon scored in every inning but the bottom of the seventh to secure the rebound win.
“This game had a little bit of everything that makes this game so great and what makes you want to pull your hair out,” Donsbach said. “We walked 12 hitters, they walked 10, so there was absolutely no pace to this game whatsoever. It’s hard to get into a rhythm during a game like this, but I’m just happy the guys were able to put together a good team win.”
The two teams combined for 22 walks in a game that took roughly three and a half hours to complete.
After both teams traded runs in the first inning, Ottawa grabbed its largest, and last, lead of the night with two in the top of the second.
Daryke Bass (Edon) got one back in the bottom of the second for the River Bandits with a sacrifice fly to score Axel Shanks (Patrick Henry) before Austin Bostater (Fairview) drove in Brandon Shafer (Defiance) to knot the score at 3.
Shanks gave the River Bandits a 4-3 lead in the bottom half with a single, scoring Zaccary Brickel (Hicksville).
Brickel drove in Hunter Bostater (Fairview) in the bottom of the fourth with a single before Landon Willeman (Napoleon) plated one more in the fifth when a potential double-play ball at short was dropped at the bag.
Napoleon almost added another run in the fifth, as Bass skied a pop up behind the bag at second that dropped with the bases loaded. The field umpire had ruled the ball an infield fly, which the River Bandits’ dugout didn’t hear, according to Donsbach.
Ottawa fielded the ball and threw to third before the runner crossed the plate for the third out of the inning.
Austin Bostater added a run-scoring double in the bottom of the sixth before Ottawa scored one in the seventh and one in the eight to pull within two. Shanks recorded the final out to hold on to the win.
After the game, Donsbach praised his bullpen for getting out of tight spots.
“Our guys, even though they worked themselves into trouble a couple of times, did a pretty good job of getting out of tight spots,” Donsbach said. “Brandon (Shafer) getting two scoreless for us in the middle innings really helped with our momentum.”
Shafer replaced Bryer Bentley (Montpelier) with two on and one out in the top of the fifth, working out of the jam before pitching around a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, allowing no runs.
Shanks and Bostater led the team by driving in two runs each.
The River Bandits (3-2) head to Troy to compete in the Veterans Memorial Tournament Friday through Sunday.