At first, Gabe Winans-Berner tried to put up a fight.
The Tecumseh High School pitcher had allowed two hits and one run through six innings when he was asked if he wanted to go back out for the seventh Thursday night at Northwestern.
Before he could answer, he was told he wasn’t heading back out.
“I wanted to at first, but it’s still early and my pitch count was getting up there,” Winans-Berner said after the Arrows won 8-1 to improve to 4-0 and 1-1 in the Central Buckeye Conference. “I like being on the mound. It’s always fun, but it is early and my team is going to need me the rest of the season.”
Jake Nicewaner worked a scoreless seventh for Tecumseh.
For most of the game, it appeared Winans-Berner and Northwestern starter Austin Marshall were going to slug it out from the mound.
Tecumseh scored first when Christian Evans walked and eventually scored on a groundout to second by Kyle Elam in the top of the second. Northwestern (2-2, 0-1) answered in the bottom half when Danny Skiles walked and scored on a passed ball with two outs.
“It was one of those games where you were on edge the whole game,” Tecumseh coach Roger Culbertson said. “Gabe did a great job tonight. There were a couple times when they had runners in position and he kept them from scoring and kept it a 1-1 game.”
Northwestern advanced runners to second just twice more. Tecumseh had a chance to take the lead in the third, but Bubba Cantrell was cut down at the plate on a perfect throw by Isaac Parrett to end the inning.
Tecumseh finally got to Marshall in the sixth, scoring seven runs on one hit with one ball leaving the infield. Nicewaner led off the inning with an infield single. Deric Cain and Elam walked before Hunter Spears was hit by a pitch to force home Nicewaner. Cain and Elam scored when Tony Evans reached on an error. Evans and Spears scored when Cantrell reached on another error. Cantrell scored on an error on a ball hit by Winans-Berner, who scored on a passed ball.
“We had two innings in a row where we hit the ball hard and got nothing,” Culbertson said. “A bleeder down the third-base line opened everything up for us. It was a different inning, bizarre-wise, because it is not like we were hitting line-drive hits. We scored seven runs and it was not us driving the ball.”
Northwestern went quietly over the final two innings.
“Six out of seven innings we played great baseball,” acting Northwestern coach Ryan Erwin said. “One bad inning did it. Games are not won, they are typically lost, and tonight we had every opportunity to win.”