FRANKLIN, IND. - A long day at the ball diamond on Franklin College's campus proved worth while for the Defiance baseball team on Friday. The Yellow Jackets swept the defending HCAC champions with 11-10 and 5-4 victories, inching DC closer to securing a spot in the postseason tournament.
Big hitting propelled DC to the crucial HCAC wins. The Purple and Gold wasted no time as Tanner Stippich (Lima / Allen East) drilled a shot back up the middle to bring home Ben Bucklew (Archbold) and open up the day's scoring.
A pair of big innings in the third and fourth saw DC jump to an 8-0 lead after four innings.
The Grizzlies did their best to crash the Yellow Jackets momentum, putting six runs across the plate in the bottom of the sixth. With the scoreboard reading 11-9, the home side saw one more run cross the plate before Cohen Nies (Logansport, Ind. / Lewis-Cass) retired the side to grab the win.
In a moment of role reversal, the Grizzlies struck first in game two, scoring three runs in the opening inning.
Michael Reese (Constantine, Mich. / Constantine) decidedly changed the Grizzly momentum when he launched a three-run home run out of right-center to equalize the affair.
With the visibility levels quickly diminishing, and the score knotted at four, DC looked find a late advantage. Reese took the the plate where the sophomore hit a bouncing ball through the infield that created havoc for the Franklin defense. Bucklew found his way home on the play to take the crucial 5-4 lead.
On the mound once again, Nies closed out the contest in the darkness-shortened game two, sealing the pivotal day for the Purple and Gold.
Offensively, Bucklew led the Yellow Jackets over the two game stretch. The junior tallied five hits, five runs and four walks on the day. The Archbold native hit .833 while stealing three bases and driving in one RBI.
From the mound, eight different Yellow Jackets were called upon by Coach Derek Woodley. With his win in game one, Jon Brown (Haskins / Ostego) improves to 5-1 on the season. Nies tallied the game two win, as the two-time HCAC Pitcher of the Week moved to 4-4 on the year.
The central Indiana sweep makes Defiance's record 19-14-1 on the season with an 8-8 mark in HCAC play. DC currently sits in an HCAC tournament position of fourth with just two games remaining.
The Yellow Jackets will return to action Sunday, May 5, as they host Mount St. Joseph at Defiance High School for the final regular season action of the season. First pitch is slated for 11:00 am.