WALKERTON — John Glenn started out the season on a 10-win tear, but the Falcons suddenly seem to be slumping. Bremen’s baseball team is on the rise, meanwhile.
Headed in opposite directions, when the two teams met at The Nest in Walkerton Wednesday, it made for an old-fashioned spanking.
Bremen plated seven runs in the top of the first on the strength of six hits and four Glenn errors, and the Lions never looked back in a 13-2, five-inning defeat of the Falcons on the road.
“Fielding, pitching, that’s what we were feeding off our first 10 games, and where it went the last five is a mystery,” said Glenn head coach John Nadolny.
“Boy, did we come out swinging the bats,” said Bremen head coach Bo Hundt. “Two weeks ago we played scared, but today our freshmen and sophomores stepped it up. Pitching and defense has really grown to that next level we needed.”
Bremen got off to a fast start in the first when Bryce Cassel drew a walk while Bobby Cornett reached on the first of six Glenn errors.
After a deep fly out by Eric Knepper, the Lions cranked out three straight singles from Drew Coffel, Tyler Coffel and Wes Burkholder, and Glenn followed up with another error when pitcher Tyler Niespodziany threw one away at second going for a double play.
Dillon Mullen, Pedro Lopez and Cassel collected three more hits sandwiched by two more Glenn errors, and the Falcons found themselves trailing 7-0 headed into the bottom of the inning.
“The tone was set in the first inning, and it forced Glenn to come from behind, changing their game plan,” said Hundt. “We came out passive Monday against Jimtown but came out aggressive today.”
Glenn picked up a run in its half of the inning when Mark Einhorn singled and scored on a double by Kyle Liedtky, who was thrown out at home by a perfect throw from Cornett to Drew Coffel on a David Jaworski single.
The Lions plated five more in the third on walks to Burkholder and Jacob Bennitt before Mullen laid down a bunt single, Lopez drew a walk, and Cassel reached on a fielder’s choice ball that was dropped on a force attempt at second.
A sacrifice fly from Cornett, a walk to Knepper, a Drew Coffel double and another Glenn error pushed the Bremen cushion to 12-1.
The Falcons threatened to go to the sixth inning when both Cole Kaser and Ryan Price drew walks before Drew McDonald’s shallow single loaded the bases for Einhorn, who scored Kaser with a deep SAC fly.
With the heart of the Falcons order up, Glenn fans were ready for a one-out rally, but Lions reliever Cornett had other plans. He struck Liedtky for the second out of the frame and intentionally walked Justin Gierlowski to re-load the bags, then induced a pop-out from Jowarski to end the game in five.
“In high school ball if a player, his teammates and coaches all start believing together in the same goal at hand then the level and intensity of the game grows, and we’re believing right now,” Hundt said.
Bremen improves to 10-4 overall and passes Glenn in the Northern State Conference standings at 6-2. Glenn slips to 10-5, meanwhile, with a 5-3 conference slate.
“This conference race is up for grabs, and Glenn can overtake us, Jimtown and New Prairie if we slip up and play passive,” said Hundt. “I’m liking our chances this second half of the season.”
“We’ve quit playing as a team, no enthusiasm, the kids are down. We’re looking for someone to take charge, stay upbeat and lead,” said a flustered Nadolny. “These kids need to start believing again. They’re working hard, so right now it’s that mental approach.”
• BREMEN 13, JOHN GLENN 2 (5 inn.)
Bremen: 704 11 — 13 12 0
Glenn: 100 01 — 2 4 0
Bobby Cornett, Bryce Cassel (W); Tyler Niespodziany (L), Mike Holderread (3), Ben Drzewiecki (3).
2B: Cornett (B), Drew Coffel (B).
Records: Bremen 10-4 (6-2 NSC), Glenn 10-5 (5-3 NSC).
JV score: Glenn 18, Bremen 13.