CADIZ - Bellaire coach John Patrone knew the game at Mazeroski Field would be a battle, but could not be certain until the last out that his team would come out ahead in the hard fought 13-9 win over Harrison Central.
"I told our players that to win this game we would most likely need to score in double figures," Patrone said. "It really was anybody's game until the last out."
From the onset it looked to be a night that would not favor pitchers as a strong and shifting wind was blowing from behind home plate out to left center field. That wind could have been the deciding factor as a long fly ball off the bat of Tyler Ramsay with bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning carried over the fence for a grand slam.
Harrison Central’s Dustin Redish, right, slides into third as Bellaire’s Hunter Westlake waits for the throw Thursday.
"Every home run is significant, but those four runs were the difference today," said Patrone. "I kept telling them to stay back on the ball, don't try and kill it, just get one up, and Tyler was patient and really came through for us."
Fortunately for Patrone, that shot cushioned the Big Reds 9-6 lead, because the game lived up to the hype and the Huskies were far from ready to concede.
Harrison Central started off the contest by ruining the season debut of Bralen Snell on the mound for Bellaire.
Dalton Rutter lead off the bottom of the first with a single then stole second and moved to third on an errant pick off play. Dustin Redish plated him from there with an RBI single, Nick Staten pushed his teammate to second base, Redish stole third and Graves got aboard with a walk to load the bases. Sophomore Ian Saho notched a pair of RBIs with his single. Austyn Porter's hit would make it 4-0 and Patrone pulled his starter calling on Nathan Steele.
Steele walked the first batter but got a strike out and a ground out to end the inning.
Bellaire got back to even in the top of the second inning as Brendon Ross drew a walk, Ramsay reached on an error before Wyatt Back loaded the bases. The table was set for Nick Patrone who double in a pair of runs. Tyler West came to the plate and pushed Back and Patrone across the dish to make the score 4-4.
The score remained unchanged until in the top of the fourth inning when, with the bases loaded, Back, Patrone, West and Badia all scored to move ahead 8-0. Back's RBI added one more to Bellaire's total in the top of the fifth inning but the Huskies used a pair of twin baggers to add a pair in the bottom of the frame.
Dustin Redish led off with a double, Brennan Graves got a free pass then Porter stroked a double which closed the gap to 9-6.
The next inning Runyan hit the grand salami but the Huskies would put three across in the bottom of the sixth to keep the Big Reds from getting too comfortable.
"Our bats are getting better," Harrison Central coach Mike Valesko looked for positives from the game. "That being said, you can't give good teams like Bellaire extra outs and expect to win, we had five errors."
"We did a nice job of not giving up," Valesko said of a team with a lot of young players starting. "We did not field the ball well early, but I thought we showed some character not getting down on ourselves and battling back."
Bellaire improves to 3-1 and will host St. Clairsville tonight while the Huskies welcome Union Local.
Bellaire 13, Harrison Central 9
Bellaire040 414 0 - 13 10 1
Harrison Central400 023 0 - 9 12 6
B - Snell (1W, 1K), Steele wp (2W, 3K), Westlake (1W, 2K) and Back. West S, rbi, Steele rbi, Badia S, rbi, Westlake S, 1 D, Ross S, rbi, Ramsey HR, 4rbi, Patrone S, D, 2 rbi.
H - Graves lp (3W, 3K) T.Redish (3W, 0K) and Staten. Rutter 3S, D.Redish S, D, 2rbi, Staten S, rbi, Saho 2S, D, 2 rbi, Porter S, D, 2 rbi.