Despite losing a handful of talented and veteran players from a season ago, Barton finds itself off to a flying 3-0 start in Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League action.
One of the newcomers to step up has been former Barnesville standout Tyler Kurtz. The Bethany College hurler tossed his second complete-game Friday night in the Braves' 6-1 victory over Shadyside at sun-filled Henning Field in Crescent.
The right-hander struck out five and walked just one in firing a two-hitter.
"We lost some really good players, but we were fortunate enough that the guys did some very good recruiting," Barton manager Billy Timko said. "The guys from Barnesville (Kurtz and Jourden Yager) and Linsly (Derek Miller) have really helped out.
"That's big because these new guys have come in and learned that everyone gets to play," he added. "With the talent we've got, we can play several players in the infield or the outfield. This is a great team to coach right now."
Kurtz allowed a run-scoring double to left-center off the bat of Vince Stemkowski with one-out in the second on a ball that looked like it was going to be caught, but carried over the head of centerfielder Dustin Hynes.
The only other safety was a solid single to center by losing pitcher Logan Hudson with one out in the fifth.
Both aforementioned baserunners were eliminated with inning-ending double plays.
"Until (Chris) McIntire gets healthy and St. Clairsville (High School) gets done, Tyler has really helped us out with two solid efforts," Timko said. "We a little short in pitching right now, but our schedule worked out in our favor, so we'll take it."
Barton has a pair of moundsmen on the Red Devils' Division III regional-bound baseball squad in Chris Milhoan and Greyson Loweecy.
"I didn't do that well this year in college," Kurtz admitted, "but I've been able to do pretty well so far in this league. I was keeping my fastball inside and not throwing it down the middle of the plate and I've got two curveballs that were working. I throw a 12-6 and one that is more of like a slider. That's what I threw mostly today."
The Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the first, one on Derek Miller's RBI single to left. The other scored on a throwing error by the Casket Makers (0-2).
Nick Rocchio drove in the third run with a second-inning single and Dustin Hynes plated the fourth with a groundout.
The final two tallies came in the fifth. Anthony Rocchio collected an RBI on a fielder's choice and the other crossed on another Shadyside miscue.
N. Rocchio and former Union Local three-sport standout Jordan Barbina evenly divided four singles.
Hudson fanned half-a-dozen and issued four free passes in yielding seven hits.
Barton travels to Neffs Sunday, while Shadyside hosts Weirton.
Shadyside 001 000 0 - 1 2 3
Barton 220 020 x - 6 7 1
Batteries: L. Hudson and Palicka. Kurtz and Koval
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