Blair Oaks knocks off Iberia 5-3

WARDSVILLE — Iberia giftwrapped a win for Blair Oaks.

Tied at 3 in the sixth inning, the Falcons scored a pair of runs on three errors, a hit batter and a wild pitch, all without a hit, to escape with a 5-3 victory Friday at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

“They did, they did (help us),” Blair Oaks coach Harv Antle said. “That’s baseball. A lot of times the team that makes fewer mistakes is going to come out ahead. We were able to capitalize.”

Jacob Koelling led off the bottom of the sixth with a line drive to right field that was mishandled by Iberia, allowing Koelling to reach third base. Koelling scored on the next play, a botched grounder by the Iberia second baseman off the bat of Hayden Haney. A hit batter and a dropped throw on a potential force play loaded the bases with nobody out. Haney then scored on a wild pitch.

A popup, a botched squeeze play and a groundout prevented the Falcons from adding to their lead.

“We had a couple of other insurance runs out there to get and we misfired on the squeeze play, still had a chance to hit the guy in from third and couldn’t get that done,” Antle said. “(Still), you feel relatively comfortable with a two-run lead going into the last inning.”

It was a little too close for comfort for Blair Oaks in the final frame.

After two quick outs, Iberia loaded the bases with a single, an error and a walk. Ryan Abbott then came in and struck out Zack Pemberton to end the game.

“You’d like a clean inning,” Antle said. “You take the lead there and you’re up two runs, you’d like to go out and shut them down quickly and get off the field and get on to the next day’s games. Give them credit, they made things happen. Really anybody’s ball game there.

“Ryan did what we needed him to do there and not let it get any further.”

It was Blair Oaks’ second comeback victory of the season. Iberia had taken a three-run lead with a trio of unearned runs in the top of the second inning.

It was a rather innocuous start to the frame, as the Rangers’ first two batters went down swinging. Then a pair of walks made things interesting.

Blair Oaks had a couple chances to escape the inning, but a pair of errors led to Iberia taking the lead. The first was a dropped foul pop-up that kept the inning alive. The second was a dropped pop-up in the middle of the infield that resulted in a run crossing the plate.

After another walk loaded the bases, Dustin Bloodgood smacked a two-run single to center field to make it 3-0.

“They took advantage of our mistakes early — walking guys, pitching behind in the count, misplaying a ball in the middle of the infield — some self-inflicted damage there that they took advantage of and made us play from behind,” Antle said.

Blair Oaks responded in the third inning, using a leadoff single from Beau Distler and an RBI triple from Derek Otto to get on the scoreboard. Another run scored in the frame on an error to make it 3-2.

The Falcons then tied it in the fourth on a two-out double from Haney and an RBI single from Distler.

“We were able to come from behind,” Antle said. “We’ve done that a couple times, and this time we were able to finish it off.”

Dustin Blomberg picked up the victory by tossing 2 2/3 innings of relief and allowing no runs on two hits while striking out six and walking one. He took over for starter Kyler Maxey, who allowed three unearned runs in four innings while allowing three hits and striking out nine. He walked five.

Distler had two of Blair Oaks’ five hits.

Blair Oaks (4-3) travels to Washington today for a doubleheader with St. Clair and St. Francis Borgia.

“Hopefully we learn some lessons here and come out ready to play (today),” Antle said. “Hopefully we can get going on a little bit of a streak here.”

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