WARDSVILLE -- The Blair Oaks Falcons had a plan Tuesday night against the Versailles Tigers in Tri-County Conference play at the Falcon Athletic Complex.
Blair Oaks wanted to use a lot of its roster while also taking care of business on the scoreboard. The Falcons used 17 players en route to picking up a 10-0 victory by run rule in six innings.
“We have a lot of good baseball players here,” Blair Oaks coach Mike DeMilia said. “When you get a chance to get some of the guys that don’t get as much playing time in it is a good thing. Any varsity experience is good.”
It did not look like Blair Oaks was going to run away with the contest after three innings, as both sides still had zeros on the scoreboard.
The Falcons came close to getting two or three runs across in the bottom of the third inning, but Aidan Boeckmann’s line drive to left field with the bases loaded and two outs was hauled in on a dive by Gage Judd to save multiple runs and keep the game tied.
“You can’t control everything in baseball,” DeMilia said. “Aidan put a pretty good swing on it but the left fielder made a really nice play. We had a few of those where their center fielder came out of nowhere to make a couple catches. It’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
But Blair Oaks broke through by taking advantage of a pair of mistakes by the Tigers in the field in the bottom of the fourth.
Colten Bryan drew a one-out walk, moved up to second base on a wild pitch and then to third after an error on a groundball hit by Tyler Doman. Easton DeMilia drove in the game’s first run with another grounder to score Bryan and DeMilia was able to reach first after the groundball was booted again. Evan McCullough took advantage of the extra two outs and drove home courtesy runner Jett Quirouet with a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 game.
“When you put the ball in play, you keep pressure on the defense,” Mike DeMilia said. “Good offenses will capitalize on their opportunities. They gave us an extra out a couple times there and we cashed in. That’s a sign of a good team.”
Two runs would have been plenty of support for Doman on the mound, as he threw five scoreless innings while striking out 10 and allowing just two hits.
Doman threw 47 of his 60 pitches for strikes.
“He’s a control pitcher,” DeMilia said. “He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he locates really well and he has enough movement on his pitches to get swings and misses and bad swings. He did a lot of that today. We were able to throw three pitches for strikes, we were able to mix it up, he executed pitches and he did a great job of keeping them off balance.”
Blair Oaks blew the game wide open with a six-run fifth inning.
The catch? The Falcons had zero hits in the inning, as they took advantage of five walks, a hit batter and another error.
“Their pitcher struggled a little with command and we didn’t help him,” DeMilia said. “We made him throw it in the zone and that’s what good hitters will do.”
Cody Pickett entered the game to pitch the sixth for Blair Oaks and worked a 1-2-3 inning with three groundouts.
The Falcons finished the game by run rule in the sixth. Easton DeMilia drove in Holden Brand with a double down the right-field line before McCullough ended the game with an RBI single to left field.
“Two balls that were hit fairly hard but probably not two of the harder-hit balls of the night,” Mike DeMilia said. “That’s the name of the game. … It was good to see them come through there at the end.”
Blair Oaks finished with just three hits in the contest despite scoring 10 runs, thanks in large part to drawing eight walks while striking out zero times.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we had zero strikeouts tonight,” DeMilia said. “That’s been an improving stat for us. We really struggled early but we have been doing better at putting the ball in play. That’s why you have a situation where you score 10 runs on three hits.”
TJ Schoolfield and Reese Murdock collected the two hits for Versailles (6-12, 1-5 Tri-County).
McCullough led the way for the Falcons out of the No. 9 spot, finishing 1-for-2 with a run scored, a walk and two runs driven in.
Blair Oaks (14-12, 5-1 Tri-County), ranked No. 9 in Class 4, will be back in action at 5 p.m. today against Mexico.
In Tuesday’s JV game, Blair Oaks defeated Versailles 10-0 in four innings.
Henry Buschjost pitched a no-hitter for the Falcons, striking out five and walking one.
Rylie Schnieders had a team-high three RBI for Blair Oaks, including a two-run double, and Jackson Houston had a pair of RBI.