Baseball Team Drops CIC Opener To Blackford

Posted on April 18, 2019 in Baseball, Spring Sports


This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Junior Harry Walker pitches vs. Blackford

CONVERSE — Winning baseball games means taking advantage of opportunities.

While scoring chances were limited in Wednesday’s Central Indiana Conference opener between Blackford and Oak Hill, it was the Bruins that were most opportunistic in a 5-1 win over the Golden Eagles.

Each team committed four errors, but two of Oak Hill’s came in the first inning and allowed the Bruins to take a 1-0 lead.

Blackford starting pitcher Peyton Hurd took it from there with timely help from his defense. Hurd pitched all seven innings to earn the win scattering five Oak Hill hits, striking out seven while walking just one.

“Peyton is good for throwing a lot of strikes and most of them are at the knees. For the most part he puts the ball where he wants it,” said Blackford coach Tony Uggen. “He battled out of a lot of difficult spots. That could have been a high scoring game, really both teams had a lot of opportunities with two outs and just couldn’t get the job done. I’m happy with the way he pitched.”

Hurd and Brandon Stroble each had RBI singles off Oak Hill starter Harrison Walker in the top of the third, but shortstop Nate Alston threw another potential Blackford run out at home on a perfectly executed cut-off play by the Eagles after a fly ball to right with runners on second and third.

After allowing only a single to Walker in the second – courtesy-runner Mark Sevier was caught stealing – Oak Hill put together its first good scoring threat in the home-third.

Kody Dubois stroked a one-out single and Landry Ozmun reached on an error. Matthew Hershberger was hit by a pitch with two outs to load the bases, but Hurd struck out Alston to end the threat.

The Golden Eagles put two runners on with one out in the fourth before Hurd retired Will Haley and Dubois on fly outs to left field.

Oak Hill and Blackford both stranded nine runners in the game.

“We’re just snakebit right now, some of it is on our own doing,” Oak Hill coach Shane Edwards said. “We’re taking too many fastball strikes and we’re leaving guys on base. That’s on me as a coach, we’ve got to prepare them better for those situations, but we’ve got to get key hits.”

Walker kept the Golden Eagles within striking distance through his 5.1 innings. He struck out five and allowed five hits, three in the third inning, and issued just two walks.

Danny Nally worked Oak Hill out of a jam when he entered in the sixth with two on and one out. He picked a runner off second base and got a ground ball to second to escape with the score still, 3-0.

Nally gave up a lead-off single in the seventh, then punched out two of Blackford’s next three hitters. In between the two strikeouts was a bunt single from Hurd. With two-outs and Blackford runners at second and third, Kyle Price blooped a fly ball into short right field that fell just inches from the reach of a diving Ozmun to push the final two Bruin runs across.

“We’re getting great pitching, today Harrison Walker yesterday was Isaiah Shields (in a 4-1 loss to Manchester),” Edwards said. “Defensively we’ve been awesome until early in the game we had a couple of errors. Still then we were only down 3-0.

“We’re snakebit and we’ve got to figure out a way to get out of it,” he continued. “That’s on me as a coach and we’re going to do our best tomorrow in practice.”

Oak Hill didn’t go quietly in its last at bat.

Dubois reached on an error and Ozmun followed with a solid single to center. Evan Pearce hit a grounder to shortstop but Blackford’s second baseman dropped the short throw to load the bases with no outs. Sevier we retired on a foul pop up to third before Alston hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Dubois with Oak Hill’s lone run. Gerrod Creech hit a hard one hopper to third and was thrown out at first for the final out.

Edwards was pleased with the performance of both Walker and Nally on the mound.

“That’s what is going to win you ball games,” he said of the Eagles’ quality pitching. “Defensively … we’re right there. We’re in the right positions, making the right moves, running down balls in the gap. We’ve got to find a way. If it’s not right now hopefully its later in the season when the games really matter. Unfortunately, today mattered with the conference.”

Oak Hill (2-6, 0-1 in CIC) hosts Southwood for a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

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