Baseball: Wapakoneta opens with win over Delphos St. John's

Mar. 25—WAPAKONETA — Wapakoneta didn't waste any time getting its baseball season off to a fast start in a 10-3 win over Delphos St. John's in the season opener for both teams on Monday.

In the bottom of the first inning the Redskins' leadoff hitter Taylor Echols reached base on an error and the No. 2 batter, Grant Jolly, launched a long home run to left-center field.

Jolly, a junior who has verbally committed to North Carolina State, said he knew at the moment of contact the ball had a chance to get over the fence. "It felt good off the bat," he said.

Echols and Jolly each reached base four of the five times they went to the plate. Echols had a triple and a double and was hit by a pitch in addition to the first-inning error.

Jolly did it by drawing three walks and hitting a home run. Between the two of them, they stole six bases.

"It's good whenever I get on and I have confidence in Grant to knock me in always," Echols said. "We've got a lot of things to improve. But on the offensive side, I think we did a lot of good things. I think we'll improve as the season goes on."

Echols pitched the first four innings, allowed three runs and four hits, struck out eight and walked two. Jolly was on the mound the last three innings and struck out seven, walked one, and gave up two hits.

Drew Bailey hit a two-run home run during a four-run sixth inning for Wapakoneta and went 2 for 3 in the game. Griffin Mericle also was 2 for 3, including a double. For St. John's, Austin Moenter was 2 for 3.

Wapakoneta coach Jason Brandt said, "Offensively we made the most out of opportunities. In five of the six innings, we got the leadoff guy on base. We were also very aggressive on the bases.

"We got a couple of big blows — home run balls. I'll take those every day of the week. The wind was blowing out but both of those balls were hit really, really well. I think they'd have been out on most days. We just have to continue to attack strikes and that's what we did today.

"There was an inning where they scored a couple of runs and we kind of lost our composure. We had a dropped third strike and we walked a guy. But I'm very happy that we came out ready to play today," he said.

St. John's coach Jerry Jackson said, "With a good hitting team like Wapak you can't afford to make mistakes in the field. You have to fool these guys a little bit with pitching today and we didn't do that at all.

"I told the kids this is the game we want to get out of our system. We'll try to get better."

St. John's played without pitcher/shortstop Cameron Elwer, a first-team All-Midwest Athletic Conference player last season as a freshman. He is still recovering from a hip injury he suffered in a basketball district semifinal.

"We'll know more early next week but we're hoping maybe in the next 10 days he will be back," Jackson said. "It looks like it's moving along pretty well. We're hoping we get him back for when the MAC starts."

Wapakoneta 12, Delphos St. John's 3

Score by innings:

St. John's 012 000 0 — 3 6 3

Wapakoneta 212 124 X —12 9 0

WP — Taylor Echols; LP — Braylon Metzger

2B — Aaron Moenter (DSJ), Griffin Mericle (W)

3B — Collin Feathers (DSJ), Taylor Echols (W)

HR — Grant Jolly (W), Drew Bailey (W)

Records: Wapakoneta 1-0; Delphos St. John's 0-1.