Palte’s strong performance leads Grove past Allen East

April 21—COLUMBUS GROVE — When you throw a strike in baseball, good things happen.

Columbus Grove pitcher Everett Palte threw strikes all day Saturday in a 9-2 victory over Allen East in a Northwest Conference baseball game, a victory that was exactly the right thing the Bulldogs were looking for after a slow start to the season .

Columbus Grove improved to 4-9 overall and 2-2 in the NWC with the win. Allen East is 6-5 overall and 2-1 in the NWC.

“I think we’re better than our record and I think we showed that today,” Columbus Grove coach Brayden Sautter said.

Allen East jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Levi Clum doubled to score Caleb Lybarger and Jackson Thompson.

But over the next six innings, Palte shut down the Mustangs, allowing just six more hits. He struckout four batters and walked one in seven innings.

“It was a great performance by Everett Palte,” Sautter said. “We’ve had some health issues with our pitching staff. It was a really big deal for us to get seven innings out of him without having to use any other weapons before we had three more league games next week.

“He’s just throwing strikes. In 16 2/3 innings this year, he’s given up three earned runs. Everett does a really good job of finding the zone, hitting spots and creating weak contact. And our defense did a great job behind him by making plays,” he said.

Palte said he relied on two of his three throws the entire game.

“When I’m on the mound, I just try to run offense and rely on my defense. They played for me today,” he said.

“Fastball, changeup, they both worked pretty well for me today. I was just mixing them up. My slider didn’t really do much for me, so the changeup had to take over.”

Columbus Grove also had a big day offensively and defensively. Six of the first eight batters in their lineup singled and two others reached base on an error, walking or being hit by a pitch. And the Bulldogs were accused of just one foul.

Jacob Ricker went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs and Kyle Hopkins went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles for Columbus Grove. Allen East’s Jackson Thompson was 3-of-4.

Columbus Grove scored a run in the bottom of the first inning on Hopkins’ first double and a single by Evan Sautter, cutting Allen East’s lead in half.

The Bulldogs scored four times in the bottom of the third and held the lead the rest of the way.

After Brady Basinger walked, Hopkins doubled and Caleb Davis was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases. Ricker then singled to drive in two runs, and a throwing error on Carter Flores’ grounder brought home two more runners for a 5-2 lead.

Trenton Wynkoop’s two-run single in the fifth inning made it 7-2 and Columbus Grove completed the scoring with two more runs in the sixth inning.

“The schedule hasn’t been too kind to us. We have struggled with some health issues. We’ve had a tough schedule, bringing in a lot of new guys after losing eight starters from last year. A slow start was expected,” Sautter said.

“We thought it would take some time to come together, to kind of get going. We feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Today we really showed the progress we made in the first few weeks,” he said.

Palte also thinks the Bulldogs’ second half of the season could go in a different direction than the first half.

“We lost to some strong teams. We played well against some strong teams. I think our record over the season should be even and reflect us better,” he said.

Columbus Grove 9, Allen East 2

Score per innings:

All East 200 000 0 — 2 8 3

Columbus Grove 104 022 x — 9 8 1

WP — Everett Palte (7 innings, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk); LP — Donovan Kennedy (2 2/3 innings, 4 strikeouts, 0 walks)

2B — Kyle Hopkins (CG) 2, Jackson Thompson (AE), Levi Clum (AE).

Records: Columbus Grove 4-9, 2-2 Northwestern Conference; Allen East (6-5, 2-1 Northwestern Conference)