Ottawa-Glandorf's Owen Hiegel and Chase Schrieber start to celebrate after Hiegel scored the winning run in the Titans 2-1 WBL over Van Wert. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)
Ottawa-Glandorf's Owen Hiegel and Chase Schrieber start to celebrate after Hiegel scored the winning run in the Titans 2-1 WBL over Van Wert. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)

GLANDORF — Hitless innings and good defense were the norm Thursday afternoon as Ottawa-Glandorf and Van Wert hooked up in a Western Buckeye League battle at Titan Field.

Titan starter Grant Fuerst threw six no-hit innings, while the Cougars Lawson Blackmore had a no hitter for seven innings. It was that lone hit that came back to get Blackmore in the eighth inning.

Owen Hiegel broke up Lawson’s no-hitter leading off the eighth inning and came around to score on a sacrifice fly to give the Titans a 2-1 win. O-G improved to 3-1 in the WBL and 8-2 overall, while Van Wert dropped to 1-1 in the WBL and 10-1 overall.

“We didn’t swing the bats very well today, but we did everything else well,” O-G coach Nick Miller said. “We played errorless baseball and Grant got ahead of the hitters, really challenged them and kept them off-balance. That’s what we needed. We needed to play to good defense behind Grant and have Grant go out there and throw strikes.”

Fuerst gave up only three hits to the Cougars, two singles in the first inning and a double to Hayden Maples in the eighth inning.

Maples two-out double in the eighth ended a string of 14 straight batters retired by Fuerst, but he was left stranded at second base as the next Cougar batter grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

Blackmore had no-hit the Titans for seven innings thanks in part to two fine defensive plays by his outfield in the seventh as rightfielder Jonathan Lee made a diving catch of a sinking liner and centerfielder Mason Carr tracked down a ball in right-center.

With Hiegel leading off the Titan half of the eighth, Lee nearly made another spectacular catch on a blooper that was just out of his reach ending Blackmore’s no hitter.

Hiegel took second on Mike Bowers sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Austin Horstman, that didn’t come as easy as it might have looked. Hiegel didn’t get a good jump from third base once the ball was caught and Lee fired a strike to Maples at the plate. Hiegel was able to avoid a tag attempt by Maples, then scurry back to the plate to touch it before Maples was able to get a tag on him.

“This is big for our confidence,” Miller said. “We have played with everyone on our schedule, it’s just been execution. Today we were able to get some bunts down and they threw the ball around a little bit. He (Hiegel) did everything he could to avoid the tag.”

“It was a good high school base game. You just hate to end on something that close at the plate,” Van Wert coach Charlie Witten said. “Lawson did a heck of a job out there, he battled like crazy. We didn’t play very good defense. One less error and its a 1-0 no-hitter in seven innings. You feel bad for Lawson, but he’s a strong minded kid and he’ll bounce back.”

Van Wert had a chance to rough up Fuerst in the first inning as they had scored a run and had the bases loaded with two outs.

Fuerst walked Maples with one out in the first and he eventually moved to third base on a passed ball and wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Nathan Temple walked and Jonathan Acquaviva gave Van Wert the lead with a solid single to left. Lee walked to load the bases before a flyball to center ended the inning.

After the first inning the Cougars had just two base runners the rest of the game.

“Grant did a good job of spotting his fastball on the inside and outside of the plate,” Miller said. “And he was able to throw his curveball for strikes to keep them off balance. He struggled in the first inning with his control, but after that he was sharp.”

Blackmore stranded two O-G base runners, both on walks, in the second inning, but in the fourth an error allowed O-G to tie the game at 1-1.

Horstman walked to start the inning before Chase Schrieber bunted him to second base. Collin Hempfling hit a groundball to shortstop and the throw to first was low and skipped past the Van Wert first baseman allowing Horstman to score the tying run. Blackmore retired the next two batters to keep the game tied.

“Hitting has been a weak spot for us this season so far,” Witten said. “And we have played much defense than what we played today. He (Fuerst) did a good job keeping us off-balance. He did a good job of mixing up his pitches and throwing his curveball for strikes at any count. Give their pitcher a lot of credit, he shut us down after that first inning.”