DEFIANCE - Ben Barton was a high school sophomore the last time Paulding defeated Defiance in baseball. That was 1995.

Now Barton is the head coach of the Panthers, which broke the long dry spell against the Bulldogs with a 7-4 victory on Monday.

“Defiance is the premier program in the area, everybody knows that,” Barton said after Paulding handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season in four games. “Competing against them is great. In the past, their three and four (pitchers) were as good as our one and two.”

That was not the case this time around as the pitching trio of Sam Woods, Blake McGarvey and Hunter Kauser limited the hosts to just two earned runs and five hits.

“Going in I was trying to get our 1-2-3 some innings before Lincolnview on Thursday,” Barton said of the game plan with a matchup against the Northwest Conference favorites on tap later in the week. “Then hope to at least compete with Defiance while doing that.”

The Panthers did more than compete, breaking a 3-3 deadlock with a pair of runs in the fifth before adding two more in the sixth.

Kauer led off with a double and came home on a single by McGarvey to put Paulding in front for good. Payton Beckman advanced McGarvey on a ground out before McGarvey eventually scored on a double steal with Woods after Woods reached on a fielder’s choice.

“I thought McGarvey did a great job of manufacturing two runs on the base paths,” Barton noted.

Andrew Adams initiated the sixth inning scoring with a one-out walk. Reid Johanns also reached on a free pass before Kauser loaded the bases with a single. After a strikeout, Beckman came through with a two-out two-run single to right.

“After talking it over, coach (Matt) Arellano suggested moving him to third in the order and he came through in a clutch way,” Barton said of Beckman.

Defiance cut the deficit to 7-4 with one run in the sixth without the benefit of a hit, but Kauser came on in relief to shut the door and then closed out the game in the seventh to earn the save.

Woods started and went into the fourth before McGarvey came on with runners on first and third and no outs to help get out of the jam. The Paulding senior earned the win with two innings of work before Kauser took over.

“We know what Hunter is going to give us and Sammy gets better and better every game, he’s just a bull,” Barton said. “We learned a lot about McGarvey. This was his first time throwing for us this year. He came on in the toughest of spots and did the job. That kid just wants to compete.”

Kauser finished with a pair of singles and a double, scoring twice to lead an 11-hit Paulding attack. McGarvey, Beckman and Adams each had two singles while Woods hit a two-run triple to cap off a three-run third by the Panthers.

After the Bulldogs had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a walk, balk, ground out, error and bunt fielder’s choice, Adams led off the Paulding third with a base hit. The Paulding eight-hole hitter moved up on a balk and, following an out, reached third after a Kauser single and McGarvey base-on-balls. Adams then came home on a run-scoring force out grounder by Beckman before Woods hit a triple to right.

Barton was particularly pleased with the play of Adams.

“We called him out,” Barton noted. “He’s a senior and we need him. He had two hits and made some big plays for us in center field.”

It all added up to the first win over Defiance since Barton was a player.

“It’s a momentum-builder,” Barton said of the victory over the perennial state power. “It’s big.”

Linescore

Paulding 003 022 0 - 7 11 4

Defiance 010 201 0 - 4 5 0

Records:

Winning pitcher: Blake McGarvey (2 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 strikeout, 1 walk). Others: Sam Woods (3 innings, 3 runs, 1 earned, 2 hits, 0 strikeouts, 4 walks), Hunter Kauser (2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks).

Losing pitcher: Mark Butler (4 innings, 5 runs, 9 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks). Others: Jack Mortier, Simeon Sweeney.

Leading hitters: (Paulding) - Hunter Kauser 2 singles, double, 2 runs; Blake McGarvey 2 singles; Payton Beckman 2 singles, 3 RBIs; Sam Woods triple, 2 RBIs; Andrew Adams 2 singles, 2 runs; Reid Johanns single. (Defiance) - Bradyn Shaw 2 singles; Jack Mortier single; Aiden Kiessling single; Simeon Sweeney single, 2 runs.