Barton and Maynard have both undergone roster changes since last season, but nothing has changed the intensity in the Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League.
The two Belmont County rivals squared off for the first time this season Friday night on the Firemen's Field diamond at the Maynard Community Park, with the visiting Braves (6-3) collecting a 3-2 victory before a nice crowd.
Barton built a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, only to see the hosts (5-3) tally two runs before running themselves out of further chances.
MAYNARD second baseman Matt McCain flips the ball to pitcher Mark Cisar covering first base Friday night during Steele and Cook Insurance OVBL action in Maynard. McCain knocked down a grounder, but the throw sailed over Cisar’s head.
"It was a great, classic game. Both teams played hard," Barton skipper Bill Timko allowed. "We had a couple of hits at the right times that allowed us to score three runs and got us the lead."
The Braves scored an unearned run in their first at-bat when Dustin Hynes legged out an infield single. Jourden Yager's smash to the right side of the infield was misplayed as Hynes took third. Derek Miller's bouncer to second resulted in a fielder's choice as Hynes raced home with the game's first run.
It would stay that way until the Barton fourth as a pair of crafty veterans worked the hill for each squad. The Braves' Tom Pasco had allowed just four hits until the seventh and finished with a six-hitter. He struck out four, walked five and threw 131 pitches - 70 strikes.
"Tommie pitched a heckuva game," Timko praised. "Our pitching staff has really done well this season."
Pasco's counterpart, Mark Cisar was holding his own after giving up the early run. He surrendered five hits, but none after the fourth inning when the Braves scored twice on three hits. He fanned half-a-dozen and issued three free passes while tossing 120 pitches, 82 of which were strikes.
Anthony Rocchio led off the Barton fourth with a solid single to right. Five pitches later, Ryan Kreiter ripped a line drive down the left field line that resulted in a run-scoring triple as Rocchio chugged around the bases for a 2-0 lead. One out later, Hynes' groundout chased home Kreiter.
Cisar reached on a one-out fielder's choice in the bottom of the seventh. After stealing second, he rounded third and touched home on Max Schimmel's ground-rule double down the right field line. Pasco retired Derek Cisar on a grounder to third for the second out, but Chris Leasure's groundball to short was thrown wildly to first as Schimmel scored.
However, as Leasure was trying for second, Barton first baseman Joel Atkinson retrieved the ball and rifled a strike to Rocchio at second who applied the game-ending tag.
"We made a lot of mistakes, offensively, defensively and running the bases," Maynard manager Laney Simone said. "We had a couple miscues early in the game that allowed them to get that first run, and then we made a couple of mental mistakes that kind of cost us a little, too.
"Against a good team like Barton, you can't make those mistakes and get away with them," he continued. "I felt we didn't play our best game until the final two innings."
Maynard ran itself out of a possible big inning in the sixth, as Simone alluded to. Leasure also got caught stealing for the first out in the second inning.
Hynes had two of Barton's six hits, both singles.
Barton will play a pair of games Sunday, including a key matchup with defending champion Weirton at 1 p.m. on Henning Field in Crescent. The Braves will then host Marshall County in a makeup game, approximately 30 minutes following the first contest.
Barton 100 200 0 - 3 6 2
Maynard 000 000 2 - 2 5 1
Batteries: Pasco and Murry. M. Cisar and McCormick.
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