UNION TOWNSHIP | Hanover Central made winning look easy Monday afternoon against host Wheeler.
The Times No. 8 Wildcats scored multiple runs in the first inning and had a stellar pitching performance for seven innings to post a 7-0 win over the Bearcats.
Hanover sophomore Daniel Balich worked five scoreless innings, struck out four and allowed one hit.
“Daniel is pretty good,” Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said. “He hit spots, he challenged guys. He made them put it in play.”
Balich said his two-seamer was working for him on a chilly day.
“It had a lot of cut to it, and I was able locate my fastball in different spots,” he said.
Balich earned all the run support he would need when the Wildcats (3-1) plated four runs in the top of the first off Wheeler’s Sam Bolla. An error and a hit batsman set the table for Jesse Wilkening, who drove in the first run with a double.
After Dan Stum was hit by a pitch, Riley Welch followed with a bases-clearing double for a 4-0 lead.
“He had been throwing first-pitch fastball right down the middle, so I was waiting on it,” Welch said. “I just got back on it and hit it solid up the middle. I was just going for a line drive up the middle.”
Hanover added two more runs in the fifth and another in the seventh. Stum, who tossed the final two innings, finished with a single and two RBIs.
Wheeler (1-4) threatened in the fourth when a double by Bolla put runners at second and third with no outs, but Balich worked out of the jam with a ground out, strikeout and pop out.
“It’s tough to come back on a guy that’s just going to keep pounding strikes in there and making you make a play or make a hit,” Wheeler coach Josh Long said. “We’re very inexperienced. ... Hopefully, that’s a situation we can learn from, and next time step up and get a base hit.”