Solid relief pitching keys 16-6 victory –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
The quarterfinals of the Southern Ohio Youth League “B” baseball tournament saw an all-county match-up at the Knothole fields in Peebles on June 28 as North Adams 1, coached by Kirk Bunn, battled Peebles 2, headed up by Jay Mahan. The two teams had met in the first game of the regular season with Peebles “Team Latos” coming out on top, but on Tuesday night, a strong relief pitching effort combined with two big innings and some Peebles defensive lapses all added up to a 16-6 win for North Adams, advancing them to the semi-final round of the tourney.
That strong relief pitching effort came from the right arms of Jentry Crawford and Zach Osborne who combined to fire five innings of one-run baseball after Peebles had put up a five-spot in the top of the first.
That five-run outburst for Peebles was keyed by a bases-clearing triple off the bat of catcher Brennan Kyle, but North Adams answered with three of their own in the bottom of the first when Colby Bunn scored on an infield hit by Osborne and then two runs came across after Crawford reached on an error.
After Crawford retired Peebles in order in the top of the second, North Adams crept closer in the bottom half when Wyatt Roades was hit by a pitch and with two outs, came across the plate on a passed ball.
Peebles got that run back in the top of the third when Wyatt Cluxton went all the way to third when his hit got past the first baseman and down the right field line. One out later, Cluxton easily trotted home when Logan Mahan drove a two-bagger to left to put his team up 6-4.
North Adams answered with one in the bottom of the third when the fleet-footed Brandon Figgins beat out an infield hit, and then on the next three pitches, stole second and third without even drawing a throw, and scored on a wild pitch with a nice slide just under the catcher Kyle’s tag.
Peebles threatened in their half of the fourth when Devin Roepke reached on an error and Kyle drew a walk, but Crawford worked out of the jam,getting Braxton Smart on a fly ball to center and then inducing a pair of ground balls that resulted in fielder’s choices.
At that point, things went downhill very quickly for Peebles as North Adams took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. With Peebles starter Mahan still on the mound, lead off batter Osborne was hit by a pitch. A bouncer up the middle by Crawford went for a base bit and then the two runners pulled off a double steal. Anthony Wylie grounded out to the pitcher with Osborne coming home on the throw to first and the big play of the game came next off the bat of Justin Platz.
With Crawford at third, Platz laced an RBI single to center and when the ball got by the center fielder, he raced all the way around the bases to score and give North Adams an 8-6 lead. After a ground out, Roades laced a double to left center and scored when Michael Hayslip dropped a base hit into right. That was the final hitter faced by Mahan as the pitch count rule brought Roepke to the rubber. The first batter he faced was Siders, who drew a walk and scored on a seeing-eye single to center by Diesel Whalen that made it 10-6.
The top of the fifth saw Osborne came on in relief for North Adams and produce a 1-2-3 frame, fanning two hitters and his offense took care of business when they came to the plate in their half. Figgins beat our another infield hit and again swiped second and third, but was tagged out at home when Colby Bunn laid down a bunt in front of the plate. Garrett Bunn followed with a single to right and a long triple to left by Osborne brought the Bunn brothers home and he came home when Crawford reached safely on another Peebles error.
Crawford stole second and third and came across on an infield hit by Wylie, who promptly stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Platz drew a walk and a double down the left field line by Kane Eldridge drove home two more and chased Roepke from the mound in favor of Brennan Barr. Barr did the job, retiring both hitters he faced, but the damage had been done as six crossed the plate to give North Adams a commanding 10-run advantage.
Osborne finished things off in grand fashion in the top of the sixth, striking out three consecutive batters looking and all six that he faced over two innings as North Adams claimed the 16-6 win and moved on to the tournament semi-final round.
Peebles finishes the season with a record of 11-7, while North Adams, with only three losses on the season,will be back in action on Tuesday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m. Again on the Knothole field at Peebles, Coach Bunn’s troops will be battling for a trip to the July 8 championship game in the single-elimination tournament.