The Golden Eagles continue to pick up momentum …
Big Walnut, winners of three in a row and four of its last five games, rode the strong right arm of starting pitcher Cole Harbin and the timely hitting of Aaron Shaw, Grant Beam and Tyler Beam to a 5-1 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over visiting Hilliard Bradley Friday afternoon in Sunbury.
“We played a solid game with Cole’s complete game, our timely hitting and solid team defense,” second-year Golden Eagle head coach Chris Holly said. “This performance is what we have been looking for … and what we need for us to achieve our goals as a team.”
Bradley (5-6, 2-3 OCC Capital) took an early 1-0 lead off Harbin in the first inning. Senior shortstop Tyler Armstrong led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a bouncer back to the mound and scored on senior first baseman Kyle Goldsberry’s RBI-single to right field.
It was all Harbin and the Golden Eagles (9-4, 3-2 OCC Capital) the rest of the way. The junior right-hander shut out the Jaguars on five hits the rest of the way while the Big Walnut bats warmed to the task against Bradley senior pitcher Conor Driscoll.
Big Walnut came right back with two runs in the bottom of the second inning on a walk to senior designated hitter Todd Tarney, a stolen base and Harbin’s double to right field, with Harbin moving to third on the throw home. Tarney scored on senior third baseman Aaron Shaw’s ground out to short and the Golden Eagles were up 2-1 going into the third inning.
Big Walnut, sending nine batters to the plate in the fourth inning, scored three runs on five hits to open up a 5-1 advantage. Sophomore first baseman Jeremy Bok beat out a single to short to lead off the inning, junior right fielder Max McLean beat out a bunt sending Bok to second and, with one out, Harbin drilled a hard grounder that eluded the third baseman’s glove to score Bok.
“Cole helped his own cause with some big hits,” Holly said. For the game, Harbin was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
Following Harbin’s hit, Shaw beat out a bunt to load the bases. Senior center fielder Grant Beam walked on a 3-2 pitch to plate McLean and senior shortstop Tyler Beam, who was 2-for-3, singled to left to drive home Harbin.
“We executed at the plate,” Holly said. ”Jeremy, Max and Shaw did a good job putting the ball down and set up the big inning that gave us the win.”
Driscoll, who also went the distance, gave up five runs, all earned, on nine hits, two walks and two hit batsmen. He fanned four.
Bradley threatened against Harbin in the fifth and again in the seventh.
In the fifth, senior second baseman Matt Reynolds singled and senior left fielder Zach Lucente drew a base on balls. After senior catcher Spencer Gates moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt, Harbin ended the inning by inducing junior right fielder Ryan Johnson to ground out to second. Johnson led the Jaguars at the plate with two singles in four trips.
The Jaguars loaded the bases with two out in the seventh on singles by junior center fielder Reily Butz and Johnson along with a hit batsman, but Harbin closed the door on Bradley as Armstrong bounced out to second.
Harbin allowed one earned run on eight hits, one walk and a hit batsman.
“Cole was in complete command throughout the game, and we committed only one error behind him,” Holly said. “All-in-all, it was a great team effort.”
Watkins Memorial 2, Hayes 0
The Pacers were just a hit away from a potential tie, loading the bases with two down in the seventh, but saw their rally fall short in Friday’s OCC-Capital Division loss to the host Warriors.
Watkins Memorial scored the game’s only two runs in the sixth.
Hayes (7-5, 2-3 OCC) managed just one hit in the setback — a single by senior Jacob Bosiokovic.
Jake Wright suffered the loss on the mound, allowing just four hits while striking out four. Both the runs he allowed were unearned.
Highland 4, Buckeye Valley 2
Buckeye Valley kept things close, getting a two-run triple from Kyle Whetro in the second, but four unearned runs helped host Highland notch Friday’s MOAC win.
The Barons (4-5, 2-1 MOAC) started the game with four straight fielding errors, allowing the Scots to score three times in the first. Highland added another run in the fifth to smooth out the scoring summary.
Jason Shively suffered the tough-luck loss, tossing five innings while striking out four and walking three.
Nick Sheehan led the BV offense, finishing with two of the team’s four hits.