COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) — Western Reserve Blue Devils starting pitcher Dan Windham told head coach, Ed Anthony, he felt great before Saturday’s 10-0 win over the Columbiana Clippers.
He felt even better after throwing 6 and 2/3 shutout innings in the contest to pick up the win.
With the victory, the Devils improve to a perfect 5-0 on the season. The Clippers drop to 3-3 on the year.
“It’s always a battle with them,” Blue Devils Coach Ed Anthony remarked. “Today, they were pitching a couple of young pitchers, which are going to be good. But every time we come here, it’s going to be competitive games.”
“We threw a couple of freshmen, and I thought they did a good job battling first time against a good team, a good program like Western Reserve. They definitely battled, and defensively, we did a lot of really good things,” Clippers Coach Ryan Wolf remarked. “It was a little lop-sided in the end, but through six innings, it was 3-0 and a really good game.”
Windham was making his 2019 pitching debut for the Devils and threw 92 pitches with only surrendering six hits and no walk. He would keep the Clippers off balance the entire game mixing in his off-speed pitches while striking out six.
“I just put it down the plate, and my team took good care of the rest. They did a really good job today,” a humble Windham said. “I throw whatever the coaches give me. It’s all on them today. I always look at it as I’m not really a pitcher, I’m just out there to have fun and enjoy the game with my team.”
“Our pitching has really been solid. This is the first time for him pitching this year,” Anthony stated. “He had very good command of his pitches and kept them off-balanced. I wanted him to have a complete game, but I didn’t want him to go into the 90s (pitches) his first outing. I’m very proud of him and the team.”
The Devils would get on the scoreboard in the first inning when Caleb Quinn walked, followed by a double by Ryan Slaven and a single by Brycen Jackson to chase Quinn home. Slaven would come home to give the Devils a 2-0 lead following a wild pitch by the Clippers starting pitcher Riley McElwain.
That was basically all the Devils would need in the game.
The Devils would add a third run in the fourth inning when Jake Pappagallo drew a leadoff walk, followed by Windham helping his own cause with a single to move Pappagallo to third. The Devils left fielder Dom Bengala would then hit a slow ground-out to second to allow Pappagallo to race home.
It appeared the Clippers would make a threat in the home half of the inning as Clippers shortstop Chase Franken laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line for a hit, followed by a single by Brady Dixon to give the Clippers runners on first and second with no one out. But Windham would strike out Eric Hopfenziz and Evan Kenneally followed by a slow grounder back to the mound by Wayne Davis to close down the threat.
The Devils would break the game wide open in the top of the seventh when they pushed seven runs across the plate on seven hits, a walk and an error. The inning was highlighted by a two-RBI double by Jake Pappagallo, an RBI single by Windham and a back-to-back doubles by Nick Niemi and Caleb Quinn. Neimi knocked in two runs while Quinn’s added the 10th and final run.
“We had some timely hits. We started to put together a double and another double, and another double, and when you do that, you’re going to score,” Anthony said of the big offensive explosion in the seventh. “We’ve had games like that this year.”
The Devils were led by Slaven, with four hits, including his first inning double while Quinn, Jackson, Pappagallo and Windham each collected two hits apiece. Niemi and Pappagallo each knocked in two runs.
The Clippers were led by right fielder Brady Dixon who collected three hits in the game, all singles.
Chase Franken, Wayne Davis, and Tyler Anderson had the only other hits for the Clippers.
Starting pitcher McElwain would suffer the loss after giving up three runs on three hit in four innings of work on the mound.