There is nothing more dangerous than a team that can find several different ways to win a game.
That was the case for the Norwalk baseball team, who, fresh off a 10-inning marathon win over Shelby on Thursday, came back Saturday afternoon at home by posting a 4-0 shutout of visiting Edison, followed by a 10-9 victory that featured a wild five-run seventh inning.
With the two wins, Norwalk improved to 13-2 overall. The Truckers take an eight-game winning streak into Monday's Northern Ohio League game versus Galion. The start equals the best in 15 seasons under coach Wes Douglas, matching the 2001 team that went on to finish 24-5 and win the NOL outright.
"It's as good a start as we've had," Douglas said. "We're a team that is 3-0 in extra innings and won two more in our last at-bat. We've had so many different players come through in different situations.
"We've done it a lot of different ways, we just keep competing. There is still a long way to go, but we'll take where we're at and continue to build on it."
In Game 2, the Chargers (7-6) struck for five runs in the top of the fourth of a scoreless game.
Brandon Gurnack singled and moved to second on a fielder's choice. That was followed by three straight walks to bring Gurnack in while Brandon Tomson hit an RBI single and Trenton Emody an RBI groundout to make it 3-0.
Logan Demuth followed with an RBI single and Tomson scored on a wild pitch to cap the five-run outburst.
Norwalk answered with a four-run fifth to make it 5-4, but Edison responded with two in the top of the sixth to push it up to 7-4. Norwalk again inched closer with a run in the bottom of the sixth, but the Chargers again plated two more in the top of the seventh for a 9-5 lead.
Then things got interesting.
Dustin Lieber opened the inning with a walk to get the Truckers started, and two batters later an infield error pushed him to third. Michael Finch and Nick Davis followed with back-to-back RBI singles that made it 9-7. A second infield error and an intentional walk loaded the bases for the force at any base possibilities, but Logan Shullick was able to manage an RBI groundout to make it 9-8.
Another intentional walk brought Lieber back to the plate, and he came through with a two-hopper through the middle of the Edison defense to bring the last two runs home.
"It doesn't happen very often, and we've preached playing until the final pitch," Douglas said. "The kids that have been our program have seen it happen before. They believe, and when you see it happen once or twice, it becomes contagious.
"We told our kids maybe it's the baseball gods: Wear your hat and uniform right, and good things will happen."
Meanwhile, the end of the game was a tough one to swallow for Edison coach Sean Hoover. The veteran coach was looking for a split with a quality opponent, but three hits, two walks and two errors added up to the stunning loss.
"We played 13 pretty good innings of baseball, and hit the ball much harder than we have been," Hoover said. "In the first game we had a lot of hard hit that went at people, but we did a lot of things well in second game.
"We answered them with runs when they scored. It's too bad that one bad inning in bottom of seventh with a couple errors made it to where we walked away today with nothing. Norwalk is obviously very good, and we could have split with them. But that last inning kind of takes away from what was overall a pretty good day by both teams."
In the opener, the Truckers got a combined four-hit shutout in the opener as Collin Souter and Derek Smith were equally effective. Souter went the first three innings, allowing three hits with two walks. Smith went the last four, allowing one hit with one strikeout and a walk.
Isaac Perry walked in the bottom of the first and Shullick singled. Lieber followed with an RBI double and Johnny Wilcox followed with an RBI single to give the Truckers a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Perry and Shullick both walked and scored on a two-run single by Wilcox.
Alex Bixler singled twice for Edison while Ryan Reber and Trenton Emody also singled.
Tommy Gerbracht took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. He walked five and struck out two.
In the second game for Edison, Brandon Tomson was 3 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Emody worked the first 4 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Ryan Reber took the loss, pitching the final two innings and allowing six runs, only two of which were earned, on five hits.