By Eric Cline
There were good aspects of the Buckeye Valley baseball team’s game against Pleasant Friday, but the majority were drowned out by the lopsided score.
The Barons hit the ball hard, had early chances and played solid on the defensive side, but Pleasant scored four times in the first inning and used an eight-run fourth to bury Buckeye Valley 12-1 in a five-inning Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division game at Baron Baseball Field.
“When a team comes out and strings together hits like they did and you compound that with some errors and mental mistakes in the field, it turns into an eight-run inning and a pretty ugly game pretty quickly,” Buckeye Valley coach Adam Hall said. “They hit the ball and we didn’t make plays.”
Buckeye Valley (10-13, 4-8 MOAC Red) could not match the Pleasant (15-8, 9-3) offense. Chris Kubbs’ Spartans had 10 hits on the day, including three doubles and a first-inning three-run home run by Kyle Galyk three batters into the game.
The Barons had just four hits on the day, two from junior outfielder David Hall, who also scored the team’s only run on a Spartan error. Schwartz and junior T.J. Gregory each had a single, but Buckeye Valley found it tough to get runs home. Buckeye Valley stranded five runners, four in scoring position, while Pleasant left just two stranded.
“It just seemed like we couldn’t string anything together,” coach Hall said. “We had some threats a couple of times, but no one stepped up and got us the big hit we were hoping for.”
Things were rough all day for Baron senior right-hander Colin Schwartz, who, along with fellow senior Jacob Spaulding, played their final game on the home field. Schwartz went 3 2/3 innings and surrendered all 12 runs on 10 hits, four walks and a wild pitch while striking out three. Junior Kyle Fish pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and retired all four batters he faced, picking up one strikeout.
“I think Colin came out with high energy and maybe a little ramped up pitching his last game at home as a senior,” Hall said. “He gave up a couple walks in the inning and Galyk, who’s a pretty good hitter, put one over the fence, but he definitely settled down. He threw well, started throwing strikes, worked the zone around, changed speeds and kept them off balance, but the wheels kind of fell off in the fourth inning.”
Pleasant opened the first with a single by Zach Pytlarz, a walk to Anson James and Galyk’s three-run blast. Kaden Horn then walked, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Tyler Axline.
Fish walked with two out in the bottom of the first, then stole second and took third on a throwing error by the catcher, but was stranded at third.
The Barons finally got their run in the second when Hall reached on an infield single, took third on a single through the right side of the infield by junior third baseman T.J. Gregory, and scored on an error by the Spartan shortstop when Gregory stole second.
Junior catcher Austin Harsh kept the inning going when the Pleasant second baseman bobbled a ground ball up the middle for another error, sending Gregory to third, but a fly out, a Harsh stolen base and a pop out, Spartan pitcher Scott Foster got a called third strike to retire the side.
Buckeye Valley threatened again in the third as Spaulding reached on an error and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Fish. Schwartz then ripped a single to center, but Spaudling was thrown out at home trying to score. Schwartz went to second on the throw home and Hall followed with a single to right, pushing Schwartz to third, but a pop out killed the threat.
The Spartans then ended all doubt in the fourth, getting eight runs on seven hits, and were helped by three Baron errors and a passed ball. Pleasant scored five of the right runs with two out.
Axline had three hits, including a double, plus two RBIs, while Galyk added a single to his homer and drove in four to lead the Pleasant offense. Foster earned the win, allowing just one run, four hits and a walk while fanning three.
The Barons move on to tournament play Tuesday, hosting Columbus East at 5:30 p.m. at Oxford Township Park in Ashley.