A 1-1 game after six innings got away from the Adams Central Jets as visiting Heritage scored six in the top of the seventh as the Patriots moved to 3-0 in the ACAC Thursday in Monroe.
A day after beating Bellmont at home, Heritage completed the season sweep of Adams County schools by hanging around long enough to get into the AC bullpen and pick up the win.
“Both pitchers were great today,” noted Adams Central head coach about the matchup.
Coach Dean Lehrman’s team had to wait until the seventh because Adams Central starter Cade Van De Weg was simply too good. The lefty struck out seven and allowed just one run in six innings of work, but it was six errors by the Jets that were too much to overcome.
“If we can figure out how to play defense behind our great pitching,” said a frustrated Foster, “we can play with anybody. But when we commit six errors like tonight we don’t deserve to win. It’s a tough loss, just like Woodlan.”
Foster noted that the team has four losses (Mississinewa, Bellmont, Woodlan and Heritage) and they allowed 25 runs in those four games. Only five of those runs were earned.
Van De Weg’s counterpart, Noah Redmon, went the distance on the mound for the visitors, giving up just three hits. The tall, right-handed junior struck out six and walked two.
Adams Central did their damage at the plate in the very first inning and it came with two outs against Redmon. Ryan Black walked and Trevor Currie doubled him in on a full count pitch.
Dalton White doubled for the Patriots to lead off the second but Van De Weg mowed down the next three batters to strand him at second.
It was White again in the fourth inning with a base hit to lead off the inning but Van De Weg again got out of the inning with a couple of ground balls.
Adams Central put two on in the fourth with singles by Currie and Logan Uhlman, but shortstop Cameron Rauner turned a double play and Redmon escaped the jam with two more runners stranded.
Heritage finally tied the game in the fifth and it was Redmon who helped himself, driving in Caleb Abbott with a productive groundout.
The Patriots put more pressure on the Jets when White picked up his third base hit of the night to put two on, but Ryan Tester made a nice play at second to get the third out of the inning.
Van De Weg ended his night with a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts in the sixth, turning the game over to Logan Uhlman.
“Cade’s arm was getting a little tight in the fourth,” admitted coach Foster. “But he wanted to push through it. He had to be done after that sixth.”
Foster said while he wished he could have used Van De Weg for one more inning, he still stands by the decision to take his ace off the mound in a tie game.
“I am sure there are a lot of people asking why but it was his call, we can’t risk injury.”
Andrew Mirelez led off the seventh with a single, but it was two errors by the Jets that did the most damage. After Heritage took the lead 2-1, a walk loaded the bases. The Jets finally got an out from a Dalton White at-bat when they got a force out at home but a potential double-play ground ball was not handled and another run scored, leaving the door open for Nolan Hoskins and Mason Abbott to drive in three more runs.
“We took Cade out and I went to my best reliever and we made four errors behind him,” said Foster.
In the bottom of the seventh, Redmon needed just five pitches to record the three final outs.
Both teams will play another ACAC game Friday night, with Adams Central going to Bluffton and Heritage hosting Woodlan.