Mistakes doom Blair Oaks in loss to Boonville

Hayden Haney of Blair Oaks tags out Austin Hulbert of Boonville at second base during Tuesday’s game in Wardsville.

Hayden Haney of Blair Oaks tags out Austin Hulbert of Boonville at second base during Tuesday’s game in Wardsville. Photo by Deborah Cote.

WARDSVILLE — It’s become a familiar phrase for Harv Antle.

The team that makes the fewer mistakes is going to come out on top.

“That’s pretty much a standard or principle in high school baseball,” the Blair Oaks head coach said following his team’s 6-2 loss to Boonville on Monday night at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

The Falcons were the team making the mistakes Monday night, committing six errors and allowing five unearned runs.

“That makes a difference,” Antle said. “It’s hard to win ball games when you make that many errors. When you’ve got a crooked number on the scoreboard in the errors column and you’ve got a crooked number as far as the unearned runs, it’s pretty tough (to win games).”

The only earned run Blair Oaks allowed came on a solo homer from Austin Hulbert two batters into the game. The next five were all unearned.

“(Blair Oaks starter) Ryan Voss deserved a better fate than what he got,” Antle said. “He missed location with a pitch in the first inning that the kid jerked down the line for the home run. But after that, I thought he hit his spots, and if we play a little defense behind him, he gets out of those innings unscathed.”

Voss allowed five runs (one earned) in two innings of work.

Boonville made it 5-0 with four runs in the second inning. After consecutive errors opened the inning, Voss got the inning’s third batter to strike out. Instead of the inning being over, the Falcons still had two more outs to get.

Boonville made the Falcons pay. Dallas Franklin and John Reese followed with RBI singles, Jacob Francis brought another run home on a sacrifice fly to right and Hulbert smacked a run-scoring single to right to give the Pirates the five-run cushion.

“When you’re playing from behind, it’s tough,” Antle said. “We dug ourselves a hole early.”

Blair Oaks got a run back in the bottom of the second when Daniel Castillo led off with a double to the gap in right, moved to third on a groundout and came home to score on a wild pitch.

Outside that, Blair Oaks failed to muster much offense through the first six innings.

“It seemed like any time that we started to get something going, they were able to shut it down with a good defensive play,” Antle said.

A 6-4-3 double play that ended a threat in the bottom of the fifth highlighted the Pirates’ defensive prowess.

Boonville’s Franklin allowed just six hits up to that point before running into trouble in the seventh. It was 6-1 at that juncture after Boonville added an insurance run on an error in the fourth.

It could have been more, had Blair Oaks not made a couple nice plays. Castillo and Ryan Abbott combined for an out at home following a wild pitch in the fifth, and Logan Gratz threw a runner out at the plate from right field to end the sixth.

Down to their last chance, the Falcons made things interesting.

Blair Oaks loaded the bases with two outs on a hit-batter, single and walk. Castillo then smashed a hard grounder to third base that was mishandled by Boonville, allowing a run to score. Derek Otto came to the plate representing the tying run, and after lining a ball just foul down the right-field line, the left fielder struck out to end the game.

“We had a chance,” Antle said. “Any time you get the tying run to the plate in the last inning, you feel like you’ve got a shot. Just that one key hit away. And probably a couple key defensive plays away from it being a different result.”

Boonville improved to 10-8 with the victory.

Dustin Blomberg pitched two innings of relief for Blair Oaks, allowing one unearned run on one hit. Abbott tossed the final three innings, allowing no runs on three hits.

Blair Oaks (11-5) saw a five-game winning streak come to a close. The Falcons are back in action at 5 p.m. today at home against Warsaw.

“Not too much time to dwell on that,” Antle said. “We’ve got a nice season going and some good young players. We’ve got to forget about this one and move on.”

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