Gavin Fittro is met by his team after hitting a grand slam in Monday's game with Van Wert. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)
Gavin Fittro is met by his team after hitting a grand slam in Monday's game with Van Wert. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)

DELPHOS — There was no shortage of runs in Monday’s game between Van Wert and the Blue Jays. Gavin Fittro hit a grand slam and Curtis Mueller delivered a clutch at-bat to lead St. John’s past the Cougars 11-10.

“I had been struggling at the plate the past few games but started seeing the ball better tonight,” Fittro said. “With two strikes, I was looking to just put something in play and squared it up well. We put in a lot of work in the offseason and it is starting to payoff.”

Van Wert broke the scoreless deadlock in the top half of the third inning when Owen Treece hit a single to left field and scored Luke Wessell. His blast gave the Cougars an early advantage that was short lived.

The Jays offense came alive in the bottom of the third on a two RBI double by Trent Lindeman. His line drive to left field scored Devin Sanders and Adam Bockey to put St. John’s up by one.

Two pitches later, Zane Wertenberger singled to right field and brought Brady Kerner and Lindeman around to score and gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead. Fittro tripled later in the inning to score Wertenberger as St. John’s enjoyed a 5-1 advantage.

Van Wert got one back in the fourth inning when Ethan Rupert stole home and cut the lead down to three runs before exploding in the fifth to take the lead.

The Blue Jays couldn’t buy an out to start the fifth inning. A walk and a double setup Jacob Place for a double that scored Wessell and Kaiden Bates. Rupert singled to center field to bring Treece around to score and take a 6-5 lead over the Jays. Halker singled to left and extended the Cougars’ lead to 7-5, scoring Rupert as the inning came to a close.

Similar problems plagued Van Wert in the bottom of the fifth as they struggled to open the frame. Kerner scored on a single by Lindeman to cut the Cougars lead to one before Fittro blasted a grand slam over the left field fence to give the Jays a 10-7 advantage.

“Gavin has shown signs all year that he can hit the ball,” said St. John’s head coach Jerry Jackson. “He also showed what can happen when you square up on the ball. I thought he was more of a two-hole hitter but has been showing that he’s too much of a power hitter for that spot.”

Van Wert got two back in the sixth and tied the game in the top of the seventh inning when Rupert scored on an infield grounder to third and was to send the game to extra innings but St. John’s had other plans.

A pair of singles to start the inning set the stage for a dramatic finish. Curtis Mueller hit a fly ball to center that bounced out of the fielders glove and Wertenberger crossed the plate for the game winning run.

“I told the team before the game that despite our rough start, we still have three weeks of baseball left. I asked them to start fresh and they did just that tonight. Van Wert is a really good team and hits the ball well. Our guys came through tonight and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” concluded Jackson.

Van Wert (10)

Kaiden Bates 3-2-1-0, Jacob Place 4-1-2-3, Owen Treece 4-1-2-3, Turner Witten 4-0-0-0, Ethan Rupert 2-3-2-1, Joshua Halker 2-0-1-1, Ries Wise 3-0-0-1, Logan Collins 3-0-0-0, Aidan Pratt 4-1-1-0, Luke Wessell 2-2-1-0, Total 31-10-10-9

St. John’s (11)

Brady Kerner 2-2-1-0, Trent Lindeman 4-2-2-3, Zane Wertenberger 4-3-2-2, Brady Grothaus 3-1-1-0, Gavin Fittro 4-1-3-5, Blake Fischbach 2-0-0-0, Curtis Mueller 2-0-1-1, Landen Grothaus 3-0-0-0, Devin Sanders 2-1-1-0, Peyton Stabler 2-0-0-0, Adam Bockey 3-1-1-0, Total 31-11-12-11

Score by Inning - R H E

Van Wert 001 152 1 -10 10 1

St. John’s 005 050 1 - 11 12 0


Van Wert

Joshua Halker (L) 6.1 12 11 10 4 8

St. John’s

Curtis Mueller 4 5 5 5 4 5

Jack Gerker (W) 3 5 5 5 1 1