ASHLAND — With no baseball during the spring, no postseason honors were handed out for the 2020 season by the Tri-County Conference.
Southern Boone's Ethan Osborne can make a strong case for being the league's pitcher of the year, however.
Osborne pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out 11, leading the Eagles to a 5-0 victory in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Blair Oaks Falcons at Southern Boone.
"I was hoping we would face him coming into this game," Blair Oaks coach Justin Buschjost said of Osborne. "I know he's very good, and I hadn't seen him pitch in person.
"But he was really good."
Osborne threw just 82 pitches in seven innings and never allowed a Blair Oaks runner to reach third base.
"I was pumped to see him because I wanted our guys to have a challenge," Buschjost said. "Those are the types of pitchers that you're going to have to beat in a district championship or a Final Four, if you're going to make a run to win state."
Southern Boone scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. The first run came without a ball being put into play, as Blair Oaks pitcher Gavin Wekenborg walked one and hit three batters to force in a run.
Jakob McKee followed with a two-run single back up the middle to extend Southern Boone's lead to 3-0.
After that, Wekenborg settled down, retiring four of the next six batters he faced.
"He just hit a few guys and got himself in a jam," Buschjost said.
Grant Hoehne singled up the middle with two outs in the first inning for the Eagles, but Blair Oaks center fielder Cadon Garber threw out Tate John attempting to score to end the inning.
"There were two outs and they were aggressive sending that guy," Buschjost said. "He threw a perfect strike."
Drew Byrd pitched four innings of relief for Blair Oaks, allowing only three batters to reach base. Byrd and Wekenborg each finished with two strikeouts.
"If you just challenge guys and throw strikes, you'll get outs," Buschjost said.
But two of those baserunners came around to score. Nik Post put down a squeeze bunt to score Braeden Hawkins in the fifth inning, then Brandon Sefton scored on a groundout in the sixth to put Southern Boone ahead 5-0.
That was more than enough help for Osborne, who struck out at least one batter each inning.
"He got ahead a lot on our hitters," Buschjost said. "He was painting the corners with his fastball, he could locate multiple offspeed pitches. You have to tip your cap to him, he's a good pitcher."
Hayden Salmons singled to center field in the first inning, Wil Libbert singled to center in the second and Levi Haney reached on an infield single in the sixth for Blair Oaks' only hits.
Blair Oaks picked up a 14-7 win in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader.
Kamron Morriss led the Falcons at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a home run. Libbert added a bases-clearing triple and Parker Wilson was 2-for-2 with two RBI.
Carson Wiebe was the winning pitcher for Blair Oaks, striking out two batters.
Blair Oaks will play Helias 2 in a doubleheader at 6 p.m. Thursday at American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex.
"These are the games that you learn from and get better from," Buschjost said. "We've had a lot of those games so far.
"They're good learning experiences, but we're also hopeful that we can take that next step and start winning some of these games against some of the bigger schools around."