Blair Oaks dumps Warsaw

WARDSVILLE — A pitchers’ duel was gone just like that.

After Blair Oaks’ Jacob Koelling and Warsaw’s Storm Paris battled for 4 1/2 scoreless innings, the floodgates opened in a split second.

Blair Oaks tallied five runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth to turn a nailbiter into a blowout, as the Falcons topped Warsaw 9-0 on Tuesday night at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

“Certainly not a 9-0 game,” Blair Oaks head coach Harv Antle said. “That’s a real good team.

“Sometimes we forget that these are high-school kids. You have a little letdown like that and a small mental lapse, it can escalate in a hurry. If you’re doing your job offensively and keeping the pressure on the defense, that’s what you like to see happen.”

The little letdown occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning. Logan Gratz, leading off the frame, hit a sharp grounder to the Warsaw second baseman. The ball bounced between his legs, and Gratz hustled all the way to second.

Derek Otto followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners before Logan Bax laid down a safety squeeze that brought Gratz home to score on a tremendous slide to the outside of the plate.

“It took us a little while and we were finally able to get going with the small game there,” Antle said. “The little things make a difference — getting a bunt down, beating out a ball on the infield. Logan Bax executed a great safety squeeze to get that first run and they kind of sprung a leak after that.”

Beau Distler brought home a run with an infield single, two more scored on an error and another came home on a 6-4-3 double play.

“They had a couple of breakdowns and we took advantage and threw that five-spot on them,” Antle said.

Blair Oaks then used four walks and two hits to bring four more runs home in the sixth inning.

Koelling led off the frame with a single, which persuaded Warsaw to go to the bullpen. Two relievers took unsuccessful turns on the mound. Bax brought in a run with an RBI groundout, another scored on a wild pitch and Ryan Abbott smacked a two-run double to the gap in right to make it 9-0. The game could have ended after six innings on the 10-run rule, but Kyler Maxey was thrown out at home trying to score on Abbott’s double.

The nine runs were more than enough for Koelling, who tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout. The senior right-hander faced just three batters over the minimum. He walked three batters, and the lone hit was a bunt single by Paris in the third inning. He was then erased when Daniel Castillo threw him out trying to steal second.

“My spots were good,” Koelling said. “I was hitting the outside and I choked some of them on the inside. That’s how I did it.”

Koelling was admittedly a little apprehensive about facing sophomore Jeremy Eierman, the little brother of Johnny Eierman, who currently is in the Tampa Bay Rays organization after being selected in the third round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft. The younger Eierman entered Tuesday hitting .537 with 22 RBI and five home runs. He used a wood bat for all three at-bats, a 5-3 groundout, a flyout to center and a popup to third.

“It kind of scared me,” Koelling said of having to face Eierman, “but me placing my fastball and getting the curve and changeup, it kind of set them back on their heels, and that’s what did it for me.”

It took Koelling just 82 pitches to get through seven innings, reaching 87 mph on the fastball and dipping down to 70 mph on the changeup.

“I think I got two or three batters out on the changeup, a few on the curveball but mostly fastballs,” Koelling said, referring to how he used the three pitches in his repertoire.

A day after committing six errors in a 6-2 loss to Boonville, Blair Oaks was flawless defensively.

“Just a totally different team today than yesterday,” Antle said.

Warsaw falls to 10-4 on the season, while Blair Oaks (12-5) hosts School of the Osage on Thursday, weather permitting.

“It makes it extra special to hang that ‘W’,” Antle said, referring to Warsaw being a district and conference opponent. “Hopefully the weather holds out and we can get some more games in and build on this one and get on a streak heading down the stretch.”


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