Blair Oaks stops Fulton

WARDSVILLE — This was the type of performance Blair Oaks sorely needed.

After a weekend that saw the Falcons allow 45 runs, commit 16 errors and use eight different pitchers during three losses, senior Jacob Koelling delivered a spectacular outing at just the right time, pitching Blair Oaks to a 5-2 victory over Fulton on Monday at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

Koelling tossed a complete game and allowed one earned run on two hits and three walks to go along with eight strikeouts.

“That’s a real good win for us, considering the scoreboard injuries we sustained over the weekend in the Capital City Invitational,” Blair Oaks head coach Harv Antle said.

“That’s huge for us, for (Koelling) to go deep in the game there. Obviously after the tournament we’re a little thin in pitching. We had some other options, but honestly he was probably our best option to stay in there and finish it himself, which he did.”

Koelling was nearly flawless through those first six innings, allowing just the two hits and a walk. Fulton’s lone run up to that point came on a solo home run from Dalton Horstmeier in the top of the fourth inning.

“Horstmeier is one of the better players in the area,” Antle said. “He showed you what he can do today.”

Koelling allowed consecutive one-out walks in the seventh before a bad hop on a groundball to the shortstop skipped into the outfield for a run-scoring error. Koelling then finished off the Hornets with a groundout and a game-ending strikeout.

“Jacob was strong through six innings, staggered a little bit in the seventh but gathered himself and made some pitches to finish it out,” Antle said.

Blair Oaks got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the third. Derek Otto led off the frame with a double to the fence in center field, Logan Bax sacrificed him over to third and Kyler Maxey blooped a single to left field to put the Falcons ahead 1-0.

After Horstmeier tied the game with his shot to left-center, Blair Oaks used the same formula to take the lead in the fifth. Otto led off the inning with a single to center, Bax sacrificed him to second and Maxey singled up the middle to make it 2-1.

“Those guys at the top of the lineup, that’s their job to set the table,” Antle said. “Derek was excellent today in the leadoff role in getting on base. When he gets on base he puts some pressure on the defense with his speed. Logan’s a guy in the two-hole that can handle the bat, he showed that by putting a couple of bunts down for us. Those guys did their job.”

The Falcons added a few insurance runs in fifth as well, as Ryan Abbott smacked a two-run double to the gap in left before Beau Distler brought him in with a single to left.

“We broke through there finally,” Antle said.

After the tough weekend, Antle was happy with the way his team responded Monday.

“Our kids played really well,” he said. “We were very good defensively, executed the plays in the field when we had to. Overall, a pretty complete game.”

Otto reached base all four plate appearances, collecting a double, two singles and a walk.

Blair Oaks (3-3) travels Thursday to play Fatima. The Comets topped the Falcons 17-9 on Saturday in the seventh-place game of the Capital City Invitational.

“I think any time you have a chance to play a district opponent and a natural rival, everybody knows everybody, and it adds a little intensity to the competition,” Antle said. “Certainly we look forward to going down there and matching up with those guys again. Hopefully this time we’ll give them a better game.”

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