July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Wadsworth righty cools off Medina

Wadsworth's Dylan Palidar hits a double in the bottom of the sixth inning. (JUDD SMERGLIA / GAZETTE)

Wadsworth’s Dylan Palidar hits a double in the bottom of the sixth inning. (JUDD SMERGLIA / GAZETTE)

Albert Grindle

The Gazette

WADSWORTH — Nippy 55-degree weather, a big crowd, runners in scoring position in five separate innings and postseason dreams on the line.

Nick Bebout handled the pressure.

The Wadsworth baseball team’s ace worked his magic Friday with a six-hitter, leading the Grizzlies to a 4-0 win over Medina in a Hudson Division I Sectional final.

Bebout’s latest gem sets up the premier district semifinal in Ohio. Ranked seventh in the Prep Baseball Report state poll, Wadsworth (20-1) will face No. 1 Walsh Jesuit (24-0) — the only undefeated team in the state — on Monday at The Ballpark at Hudson.

“I just stayed mentally tough and worked through it,” the humble Bebout said.

Catcher Alex Laikos did the bragging for Bebout.

“His composure is unbelievable,” Laikos said. “The kid doesn’t let anything show.”

A junior right-hander with an 85-mph fastball and loopy 70-mph slider, Bebout (7-1, 1.40 ERA) threw 67-of-94 pitches for strikes, walked none and struck out seven. The sixth-seeded Bees (13-13) got doubles from Eric Rapenchuk (2-for-4) and Collin Minor and a triple from Matt Whittaker, but were 0-for-9 with four strikeouts with runners in scoring position.

The biggest jams navigated by Bebout were in the first and fourth innings, as Medina stranded runners at second and third both times. Bebout struck out two and induced a groundout in the first, then got a looking strikeout in the fourth.

“I was a little worried, to be honest,” Bebout said. “But we worked through it.”

Medina starter Austin Havekost (3-3) was every bit as effective as Bebout by allowing one run on three hits over his final four innings before giving way to reliever Spencer Aukerman.

The problem for Havekost was finding the strike zone in the first, when third-seeded Wadsworth took a 3-0 lead without the benefit of a hit.

Laikos put things in motion with a one-out walk and steal of second. Adam Dennison then grounded to Havekost, but Havekost’s throw to third was a tad high and Laikos slid under the tag.

Dennison promptly moved up a base with a steal and the Grizzlies scored the first two runs on a passed ball and wild pitch.

Kyle Pennington, who had walked, capped the inning by scoring on a two-out infield error.

“We knew (Havekost) was a good pitcher,” said Laikos, who walked, singled, was hit by a pitch and stole two bases. “We had to take what they gave us. They made a couple errors in the field and we capitalized on them.”

Wadsworth added insurance in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Riley Campbell that scored Greg Young, who had singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch.

The Grizzlies had only four hits, and Young was the lone base knock that came around to score. In typical Wadsworth fashion, it struck out only twice against Havekost — he was clocked at 87-89 mph — stole five times and advanced six bases on wild pitches or passed balls.

The rest was up to Bebout, who left no doubt the Grizzlies were going to secure their second consecutive 20-win season.

“The pitcher stepped up,” Bees coach Nick Kaplack said. “That’s what a good pitcher does.”

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Wadsworth 4, Medina 0

Hudson Division I Sectional Final

Medina (13-13)             Wadsworth (20-1)

                      AB   R   H  BI                            AB   R   H   BI

Rapenchuk lf    4    0    2    0       R. Campbell ss 4    0    0     1

Letts ss             4    0    1    0       Laikos c           2    1    1     0

Whittaker 1b     3    0    1    0       Dennison 2b    3    1    0     0

Havekost p       3    0    0    0       A.Campbell dh3     0    0     0

Hardy 2b           3    0    0    0       Pennington 1b 2    1    1     0

Beal dh              3    0    1    0       Rock 3b           2    0    0     0

Minor 3b           3    0    1    0       Egleston lf       3    0    0     0

Geohler rf         3    0    0    0       Robinson cf     2    0    0     0

Hripko               2    0    0    0       Young rf           3    1    1     0

Jenkins c          0    0    0    0       Bebout p          0    0    0     0

Enders pr          0    0    0    0       D.Palidar ph    1    0    1     0

Aukerman p      0    0    0    0

Fronk ph           1    0    0    0      

Totals              29    0    6    0       Totals            25    4    4     1

MEDINA                      000 000 0      —      0      6      2

WADSWORTH          300 100 x      —      4      4      2

LOB — Medina 8, Wadsworth 7. E — Letts, Whittaker, R. Campbell, Rock. 2B — Rapenchuk, Minor, Palidar. 3B — Whittaker. SB — Laikos 2, Dennison, Pennington, Young.

                                               IP       H      R    ER    BB    SO


Havekost (L, 3-3)                   5        3       4        2        3        2

Aukerman                               1        1       0        0        0        0


Bebout (W, 7-1)                    7        6       0        0        0        7

HBP — by Havekost (Laikos). WP — Havekost 2, Bebout. PB — Jenkins.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.