Blair Oaks scores in double digits again in win against New Bloomfield
Monday, March 24, 2014
WARDSVILLE — The Blair Oaks Falcons’ offense is already firing on all cylinders.
Three games into the season, Blair Oaks boasts double digits in the runs column each time out. The bats continued to stay hot despite snow flurries Monday, as the Falcons defeated New Bloomfield 11-4 in a not-so-tidy 2 hours, 26 minutes at the Falcon Athletic Complex.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise,” Blair Oaks head coach Harv Antle said of his offense. “… They’ve worked counts, they’ve taken their walks when they’ve presented themselves and they’ve taken advantage of other teams’ mistakes. All the while continuing to make contact and get the ball on the barrel of the bat.
“Up and down, we’ve certainly been pleased one through nine. … Very pleased with the offense thus far.”
Logan Gratz led the offensive explosion Monday, falling a home run shy of the cycle while collecting a triple, a double and two singles to go along with two RBI.
“He’s been a guy that has been impressive early,” Antle said. “His approach is a little bit different this year. I think he’s made some adjustments in his swing. He’s not trying to do too much. He’s taking what the pitcher gives him. You see him spraying the ball, using the whole ballpark, hitting it to all fields.
“He was huge tonight. Just line drive after line drive. He’s off to a great start. Big night for Logan to lead the offense.”
Another Logan — Logan Bax — did a little bit of everything else. The leadoff hitter reached base all four times with two singles and two walks while scoring a pair of runs. Bax also took care of business on the mound, tossing five innings while allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits. He walked three, hit a batter and struck out two.
“He was very strong through the first four innings,” Antle said. “His pitch count ran up there and he started to extend himself for one of the first times and kind of struggled a little bit and kind of fought his control.
“But he refocused and found his breaking pitch to get through that fifth inning and made some quality pitches to get outs to get us to the sixth inning.”
Alec Sieg took over from there, allowing two hits and a walk in a pair of scoreless frames.
“Really lights-out in relief,” Antle said. “That guy from the left side, when he can throw strikes, he’s going to be tough. Alec came in and did the job.”
Hayden Haney opened the scoring with an RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning. The Falcons made it 4-0 after two innings thanks in part to a two-run double from Dylan Hoelscher.
Gratz smacked a run-scoring triple to the gap in left to make it 5-0 in the third.
New Bloomfield made it a game in the fourth, plating three unearned runs. Clark Philbert walked before Tucker Lane added a base hit. A throwing error allowed both to come home before Alex Cuneio’s sacrifice fly made it 5-3.
“They always fight,” New Bloomfield coach Brandon Talbot said. “We never lay down for anybody.”
Blair Oaks put the game out of reach with a five-run fourth.
Cody Stegemann grounded a two-run single up the middle, Haney contributed a sac fly RBI and Gratz added a run-scoring double in the frame.
“Total team effort,” Antle said. “I thought we hit it well up and down the lineup. We had different guys come up in run-scoring situations and come through. … Guys were executing plays we were putting on and coming up with the timely hits.”
Lane capped the scoring for New Bloomfield with an RBI single in the top of the fifth.
Bryce Pritchett’s RBI groundout scored Alec Verhoff to create the final margin in the bottom of the sixth.
“They outhit us, outpitched us and outplayed us in the field,” Talbot said. “Normally when you lose in those three categories you lose the ball game.”
New Bloomfield (0-2) hosts Tipton today. Clay Jensen allowed 10 runs (five earned) for the Wildcats. He also collected two singles at the plate.
“He went out and knew he had some bigger hitters, but he went right after them,” Talbot said. “A lot of them hit some good pitches and I’m proud of the way he went out and threw.”
Blair Oaks (3-0) hosts Eldon at 5 p.m. Friday.
“Good crowd on opening day despite the weather,” Antle said. “I think that’s the mark of a good team, being able to play in different conditions and being able to win in different ways. We’ve done that the first couple times out.
“It’s good to win at home, and add to the atmosphere some nice little snowflakes falling here. When you win, you’re a little warmer on the inside anyway. It’s a good day at the ballpark.”
In Monday’s JV game, Clayton Graessle tossed a no-hitter and struck out 10 as the Falcons beat the Wildcats 15-0 in four innings.
Jacob Wilbers had three RBI for Blair Oaks (1-0).
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