Ottawa-Glandorf pitcher Brad Croy delivers a pitch during the Titans game with Van Wert Thursday. (Putnam Sentinel/John Parent)
Ottawa-Glandorf pitcher Brad Croy delivers a pitch during the Titans game with Van Wert Thursday. (Putnam Sentinel/John Parent)

VAN WERT — Ottawa-Glandorf put together four extra-base hits in one inning, and got some help from the Van Wert defense, to build a five-run lead and roll to a 9-4 Western Buckeye League victory over the Cougars at Smiley Park on a blustery Thursday night.

The Titans and Cougars traded runs in the first two innings before Ottawa-Glandorf took advantage of some good fortune in the top of the third, and broke the game open with a five-run inning.

After Van Wert hurler Brant Henry retired the first batter of the frame, lead-off man Brad Croy lofted a fly ball down the right field line. The gusting and swirling wind at Van Wert’s Smiley Park pushed the ball that appeared to be well foul back toward the line and it landed safely just inside fair ground. Croy wound up on second with the double and scored when Austin Williams drive to deep left-center narrowly escaped the reach of a diving Mason Carr in left field for the Cougars.

Even with the two close plays that went against him, Henry bounced back to record a strikeout of Tyler Zender, but the Titans again caught a break when strike three went to the backstop, allowing Zender to reach safely. Zender promptly stole second, leaving runners at second and third with one out and the Cougar infield drawn in.

Henry got the ground ball he needed and the third baseman fielding it cleanly and looked the lead runner back before firing across the diamond. His throw was low and couldn’t be scooped up, allowing both runners to score and the hitter, Ben Dietering, to make it all the way to third. Dietering would come home two batters later when Matt Warnecke doubled into the gap, making it 6-1, Titans.

“That was good to see, because we have not been scoring runs this year,” O-G coach Nick Miller said of his team’s big third inning. “We’ve hit the ball hard sometimes and we haven’t gotten the breaks, but today we did. We took advantage of some cheap hits and some miscues by them that led to a few runs for us. Hopefully, that will get us out of this little slump we’ve been in, offensively.”

The Cougars could have folded the tent at that point, but the young Van Wert squad instead began chipping away.

Back-to-back singles by Justice Tussing and Nate Stoller opened the bottom of the third, and Tyler Williams brought Tussing home with a slow roller to first, cutting the lead to 6-2.

After the Titans got the run back in the top of the fourth, Van Wert again found a way to scratch out another run in its half of the inning. Carr and first baseman Gavin Gardner drew walks to start the rally and Josh Braun’s line single to left-center plated the Cougars’ third run of the game.

The Cougars eventually loaded the bases in that inning with only one out, but a comebacker and a fly ball ended the frame with no further damage.

In the bottom of the sixth, a lead-off double by Ethan Williams and another Braun single put runners at the corners with nobody out in a 7-3 game. Tussing’s fly ball to right plated a run to bring the margin to three, but Croy retired both Henry and Tyler Williams via strikeout to stifle the Cougar uprising.

“(Croy) usually comes out and throws strikes and is right around the plate, and he did that today,” Miller said of Croy’s outing on the hill. “He just didn’t have the zip on his fastball, I don’t know if it was the conditions today or what, but he just didn’t have good bite on the curve. He did make some big pitches in certain innings to to get himself out of jams and get his teammates out of jams, too. He battled for us, and gave us six strong (innings).”

In the top of the seventh, Ottawa-Glandorf added on. Warnecke led off with a base hit and Drew Schierloh’s bunt wound up as an infield hit when he beat the throw to first. After a successful sacrifice moved both runners up, Ethan Williams, pitching in relief of Henry, induced a ground ball to the drawn-in infield that should have been the second out. Instead, the ball went through the legs of the Cougar defender and into right field, putting the Titans up 9-4 and sealing the win.

“I’m proud of the way (the kids) fought back,” Van Wert coach Charlie Witten said of the effort his Cougars gave on Thursday. “We kept battling, kept fighting and we cut it to three before giving up those two in the seventh. We gotta make plays (defensively). We’re doing everything offensivley that we can do, but we have to make more plays defensively to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

Van Wert yielded five unearned runs to the Titans.

There is no rest for the weary Couagrs, who have dropped games on three straight days this week to fall to 7-9 on the season. They host Celina in a WBL game on Friday before visiting Delphos for a doubleheader with Jefferson on Saturday.

The Titans, meanwhile, will battle Wapak with a share of first place in the conference on the line.

Scoring

Ottawa-Glandorf 105 100 2- 9 11 2

Van Wert 011 101 0- 4 8 2

O-G (ab-r-h-rbi)

Croy p-ss 4-1-1-0, Williams ss-3b 5-1-2-1, Zender cf 4-1-1-1, Dietering c 3-1-1-1, Wischmeyer dh 4-0-0-0, Warnecke 3b-p 3-2-2-1, Schierloh lf 3-1-3-1, Schimmoeller 1b 2-0-0-0, Kersh rf 3-1-0-0

Van Wert (ab-r-h-rbi)

Tussing 2b 3-1-1-0, N. Stoller ss 4-0-1-0, Henry p-lf 4-0-0-0, T. Williams rf 4-1-1-1, R. Stoller cf 4-0-0-0, Carr lf-c 3-1-0-0, Gardner 1b 3-0-1-1, Miller c 2-0-1-0, x- E. Williams p 1-1-1-0, Jo. Braun 3b 3-0-2-1

2B- Croy (OG), Williams (OG), Zender (OG), Warnecke (OG), Miller (VW), E. Williams (VW)

3B- Schierloh (OG)

SB- Zender (OG) (off Henry/Miller)

O-G pitching

Croy (W) 6.0 IP 8 H 4 R 3 ER 2 BB 5 K

Warnecke 1.0 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 0 K

VW pitching

Henry (L) 5.0 IP 9 H 7 R 4 ER 4 BB 7 K

E. Williams 2.0 IP 2 H 2 R 0 ER 1 BB 1 K