The Defiance College Yellow Jackets Baseball team kicked off the 2014 season with a big 7-3 win against Calvin College in a neutral site game held at Centre College.
Ryan Kohlhofer (Walbridge, Ohio/Lake) had a big day for the Yellow Jackets in the season opener, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk to drive in two runs. The sophomore second baseman also scored three of Defiance's seven runs in the game and was a part of all but one of DC's scoring plays in the game.
Kohlhofer put Defiance on the scoreboard in the second inning when he reached base on a fielder's choice, his only official non-hit off the game, and Gary Levengood (Beverly Hills, Fla./Lecanto) scored from third base and Joel Musser came home from second on a throwing error by the shortstop.
In the top of the fifth inning, Kohlhofer's run re-gave the Yellow Jackets a 3-2 lead. He scored when Chris Donese (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) singled to center field.
After Calvin tied things up at three in the bottom of the fifth, the game remained tied until the seventh when Kohlhofer's second run of the game put DC up 4-3 in what proved to be the game-winning run. This time, Chris Donese picked up his second RBI of the game when he grounded out to second base and Kohlhofer scored from third.
Donese finished 1-for-5 in the game with two RBIs.
Later in the seventh, Aaron Helland (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance), who advanced to third on Donese's ground out that scored Kohlhofer, came across home plate on a Darin Waterman (Celina, Ohio/Celina) single to center field.
The hit was Waterman's only one of the game, as he finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout at the plate. However, the designated hitter and pitcher also started the game for the Yellow Jackets and pitched six innings.
Waterman (1-0) pitched six innings before being given a rest on the mound and limited to DH duties for the remainder of the game. In his debut, he gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits. Waterman also picked up seven strikeouts and did not allow a walk in 27 batters faced.
After Defiance scored the two runs in the top of the seventh, Matt Goodpaster (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning, giving up a walk and a hit against five batters.
The Yellow Jackets added two more insurance runs in the eighth inning. The first run came off the bat of Kohlhofer, who doubled to right center, scoring Levengood. In the next at bat, Helland reached on an error by the first baseman and Kohlhofer came around to score, wrapping up the offense for the game.
In the bottom half of the eighth inning, Matt Clark (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins) entered the game for Woodley and pitched two scoreless innings to secure the victory for the Purple and Gold. Clark gave up only a walk in his two innings of relief.
Friday's win marks the third-straight season that the Yellow Jackets started off the year with a win against Calvin College in Kentucky. The Yellow Jackets have gone on to two of coach Derek Woodley's most successful seasons in his tenure at DC.