WALKERTON — One night after scoring 25 runs at Oregon-Davis, the John Glenn Falcons found themselves in a dogfight with one of South Bend’s premier programs in Washington at home Tuesday night.
Fortunately for the Falcons, they got a stellar performance from pitcher Mark Einhorn and rallied with more than enough offense during a fourth-inning outburst to pull out the win.
Einhorn struck out six batters with no walks in a complete game three-hitter, Tyler Niespodziany drove in go-ahead and insurance runs with a two-run rip to center in the bottom of the fourth, and Glenn held on for the 4-1 victory in the Falcons’ home opener in Walkerton.
“When you can have a pitcher this early in the season throw a complete game with no walks, three hits on only 74 pitches, that’s huge,” said Glenn head coach John Nadolny.
A pitching duel developed early between Einhorn and Washington’s Mark Arrowsmith as both teams put up goose eggs in the first three innings before each broke through in the fourth.
Troy Erickson led off the top of the inning with a roller to short and reached second on the ensuing overthrow to first. Tyler Reese drove him home with an RBI single to put the Panthers up 1-0 before Einhorn and the Glenn defense bore down to get the next three batters.
The Falcons responded in the bottom half of the inning when Justin Gierlowski reached on a lead-off single and advanced to third on two straight wild pitches, setting the table for David Jaworski to single him home, knotting the score at one run apiece.
After Kyle Liedtky coaxed a walk, he and Jaworski moved to second and third on a balk by Arrowsmith, and Tyler Niespodziany drove them both in with a rip to center, advancing to second on the throw home, which narrowly missed getting Liedtky out.
Cole Kaser followed with a bunt single, and Niespodziany scored Glenn’s fourth run of the inning when the Panthers threw the ball away.
Washington head coach John Kehoe thought it was the balk that really changed the face of the game.
“We’re young, and in high school a mental mistake or two can determine a game,” he said.
Washington threatened again in the sixth when Isaiah White and Anthony DeKroka started with back-to-back singles before Einhorn induced a pair of flyouts and an easy groundout to short to end the rally.
Nadolny was pleased with his team’s overall play despite a few mental mistakes, and he was excited with Einhorn’s performance on the mound. He also felt that his team’s combination of hitting — the Falcons finished with six hits at home Tuesday — and heads-up baserunning weren’t bad for this early in the season.
“Our bunting is getting better, which will allow us to do different things offensively, and our defense is stronger because of our mental approach to the game,” he said.
The Panthers slip to 1-2 on the season after competitive back-to-back losses to LaPorte and Glenn. The Falcons move to 2-0 and will host another South Bend School in Riley Thursday at 5 p.m. EST.
• JOHN GLENN 4, WASHINGTON 1
Washington: 000 100 0 — 1 3 1
Glenn: 000 400 x — 4 6 2
Mark Einhorn (W, 1-0) and David Jaworski; Mark Arrowsmith (L, 0-1), Tyler Reece (6) and Kelly Kolat.
Records: Glenn 2-0, Washington 1-2.
JV score: Washington 11, Glenn 3.