Perrysburg’s Alex Schmenk, 3, is mobbed by teammates at the plate after hitting a 3-run home run against Anthony Wayne.
With its pitching staff now having thrown a school season-record eight shutouts in just 11 games, most area baseball followers have figured out that Perrysburg is pretty talented on the mound.
But Friday night the Yellow Jackets also showed they are capable of some offensive firepower as well, blanking visiting Anthony Wayne 15-0 in a Northern Lakes League game that was shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.
Led by senior second baseman Alec Schmenk — who went 4 for 4 at the plate with a three-run home run that produced half of his six RBIs in the game — the Jackets (11-0, 4-0 NLL) rapped out 16 hits in just four turns at bat.
Senior left-hander Matt Kruzel did the rest, blanking the Generals (11-4, 3-2) on just two hits while striking out seven AW batters.
Perrysburg, ranked No. 4 in the latest Ohio Division I coaches poll, preserved its eighth shutout when right fielder Ryan Young fielded a single by AW’s Matt Olsavsky and threw out Jordan Nell at home plate for the game’s final out.
That was the game’s only real drama after the Yellow Jackets chased Olsavsky, the Generals’ starting pitcher. Olsavsky faced five batters, allowing three singles and two walks.
That was just the beginning of the Yellow jacket’s game-breaking, eight-hit, nine-run first inning.
Perrysburg’s Zach Kolvey gets in under the tag of Anthony Wayne’s Jordan Nell.
“To start the game off with a hit really got us going,” said the University of Toledo-bound Schmenk, who is also Perrysburg’s ace pitcher (5-0, 0.23 ERA). “It kind of calmed us down. We didn’t really have butterflies, but it was a big game and you want to start off right.”
Kruzel had escaped potential trouble in the top of the first when, after walking leadoff hitter Olsavsky, he turned Jake Conklin’s sacrifice bunt attempt into a 1-6-3 double play.
“I just went out there and threw strikes,” said Kruzel (3-0, 0.00). “I had my off-speed pitches working pretty well, and I had great defense behind me.
“That [double play] definitely settled me down, and I came back and got a another ground ball. In the second inning I struck out three in a row, and after that I felt like this was my game. It’s always fun to pitch behind a nine-run lead.”
Kruzel later struck out Conklin to close the third inning, stranding AW runners at second and third.
Perrysburg added two runs in the third inning and four more in the fourth to cap things. Two of those last four were driven in on Schmenk’s bad-hop single past Generals first baseman Andrew Fox.
“The kids were ready,” 26th-year Perrysburg coach Dave Hall said. “They were focused. This is a game they’ve wanted for a long time and, wow, I don’t know if we’ve ever had a start like that.
“This was totally unexpected. I thought it was going to be a one or two-run ballgame. I guarantee that the next time we play them it’ll probably be a one or two-run ballgame.”
Fox, the NLL’s leading hitter coming in (.645 average, 4 homers, 23 RBIs), was hitless like seven other AW batters in the game. Olsavsky (2 for 2, plus a walk) was the only Generals batter to get a hit off Kruzel, who walked four.
Other Perrysburg batters with multiple hits were the seventh, eighth, and ninth hitters — Hunter Smith (2 for 3), Ryan Young (3 for 3), and Kevin Schenk (2 for 3).
“They kicked our rear ends,” AW coach Mark Nell said. “They were mentally tougher than us and they’re a better team than us right now.”
In 11 games, the Perrysburg pitching staff has allowed just five total runs, only one of those earned. The Jackets have now outscored foes 77-5 and have a team ERA of 0.09.
“This is a big win,” Schmenk said, “It kind of separated us [from AW] in the standings a little bit, and gives us more of a cushion. But, we’re trying to win them all.
“We finally got three games in a row [in three days] and we got to see some pitching instead of having to go [play] a game and then wait a week.”
Contact Steve Junga at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6461.