A vision of spring
William Shakespeare wrote in his play Macbeth life was a tale “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The Buckeye Valley Barons’ Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division baseball game turned out the same way.
The teams combined for 16 runs and 20 hits, and the Barons rallied from five runs down to tie the game after six innings, but after nearly three hours of play, nothing was decided and the game was suspended with the score at 8-all Wednesday night at Baron Field.
Buckeye Valley (4-4, 2-0 MOAC Red) fell behind 4-1 early and trailed 8-3 going to the last of the fifth inning, but scored twice in the fifth and three times in the sixth to knot the game going to the seventh inning.
But the Barons couldn’t take advantage of chances to get one more run in the final three innings. The Barons left five runners stranded in the final three innings and had a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the sixth that ended with two strikeouts.
“We put ourselves into situations early that put us behind, but give our guys credit,” Buckeye Valley coach Ken Carpenter said. “They never quit. We’re battling. We’re in every game, but we’re still looking to find that killer instinct where we can put teams away.”
River Valley (4-6, 1-3) took the momentum early, scoring two runs in both the first and second innings with two out.
“We’re trying to get our guys to understand you can’t give teams extra chances,” Carpenter said. “When you have a chance to put them away, you have to hit your spots when you’re pitching and make the routine play. We had a lot of mental mistakes tonight that kept innings going for River Valley.”
Buckeye Valley got a run back in the bottom half of the first when senior left fielder A.J. Veach reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch, went to third on a groundout by junior shortstop Luke Willman, and scored on another wild pitch with senior center fielder Jason Shively at the dish.
In the third, the Barons closed within a run. Sophomore catcher Colin Schwartz reached on an error, then stole second and went to third on a throwing error by the Viking catcher.
Veach hit a solid single to left to score Schwartz, advanced to second on a wild pitch and took third on a passed ball, and junior third baseman Nick Sheehan hit a two-out infield single to drive Veach home.
But the Vikings chased Baron junior starting pitcher Kurt Schmidt with two runs in the fourth, then scored twice more in the fifth off junior reliever Cody Mitchell to take an 8-3 lead going to the last half of the fifth.
“This is our second suspended game, and we’re in a situation where our pitching depth isn’t very deep,” Carpenter said. “We’re asking guys to pitch who haven’t pitched before, and that’s tough at the varsity level, so we have to try and squeeze everything we can out of every guy who walks out to the mound.”
But in the fifth, the Barons got to River Valley starter Jordon Mally, forcing the right-hander to go deep into counts. Willman opened with a double down the left field line and Shively followed with a spinning infield single at short.
Sheehan then ripped a grounder through the right side, scoring Willman and sending Shively to third, and with junior first baseman Austin Doubikin at the plate, the Barons executed a perfect delayed double steal to score Shively.
In the sixth, the Barons continued their plate patience, scoring three times on just one hit. Senior second baseman R.J. Oberle reached on an error while Schwartz and Veach drew back-to-back walks, Oberle and Schwartz advancing on a wild pitch with Veach hitting.
Willman then drove in Oberle when the Viking first baseman failed to touch the bag before throwing home, and Shively hit a sacrifice fly that scored Schwartz. Sheehan reached on a bunt single to load the sacks, and with Doubikin up, Mally uncorked another wild pitch, his sixth of the game, allowing Veach to score.
But Viking coach Randy Leach put Mally in right field and relieved him with Tyler Shepherd, and the Viking junior struck out the two batters he faced to end the inning.
After the Barons got out of a jam in the top of the seventh, Oberle led off with a single to right and stole second with one out, but Shepherd was again able to slip off the hook, getting a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
“Mally threw over 140 pitches, and going into the fifth inning he was at 84,” Carpenter said. “He’s their ace and I knew they didn’t want to go to Shepherd, but our kids did a good job of going deep in the count and working the pitchers. We just needed to get those critical hits.”
Afterward, the umpires and coaches determined the field was too dark to continue, and the game was suspended.
Schmidt worked 3 2/3 innings in his start, allowing six runs, 10 hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Mitchell worked the next 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, three hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts. Shively pitched the final two-thirds, striking out one.
Sheehan had three singles on the night and drove in two runs for the Barons. Willman added his RBI double while Veach and Shively had a single and an RBI apiece. Oberle also added one single.
A date for the resumption of the game was not available at press time, though it is believed the restart will be played before the Barons’ game at River Valley on Friday, April 27.
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