CRESCENT - Barton is playing for its Steele and Cook Ohio Valley Baseball League playoff lives.
Following Sunday's doubleheader setback to the red-hot Wheeling Cardinals, the Braves (5-8) find themselves on the outside looking in if the postseason began today.
The Cardinals (11-2) and winners of 11 of their last 12, took advantage of the pitching-strapped Braves to the tune of 29 hits in posting 11-5 and 7-3 victories at Henning Field.
BARTON’S Nick Koval slides safely into third base during Sunday’s Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League game with the Wheeling Cardinals at Henning Field in Crescent. The Cardinals took a pair fo wins from the Braves.
"They are a good ballclub," Barton manager Billy Timko said of the Cardinals. "They wouldn't have 11 wins if they weren't.
"We're lacking (players) again," Timko lamented. "This is another game where we don't have our full lineup here. We've only had our entire squad for one or two games, but if we make the playoffs, we'll be alright."
That's a mighty BIG if.
"I know we're going to finish strong," he continued. "We're playing five rookies ... good rookies, but as a team we're still trying to find ourselves. We're in a transition period, but we will have to wait and see what happens."
In the opener, the Cardinals led 2-0 before putting up a 9-spot in the third inning when 14 batters went to the plate.
Three different Wheeling players each had a trio of base hits, those being Todd Schmidt, Tony SanFelippo and Noah Mull. Four players each had two runs batted in.
That was plenty of support for Brendon Gilles. The former WJU hurler struck out nine and scattered four hits.
Barton scored all of its runs in the sixth. Zach Melton had a two-run double. Jourdan Yager and Dustin Hynes had run-scoring singles.
In the nightcap, Eric Schneider kept the Braves scoreless until the sixth again. He fanned three and walked one.
Nick Rocchio hit a two-run homer for Barton. Melton singled and doubled, while Hynes and Joel Atkinson had doubles.
Barton travels to Shadyside Tuesday before hosting Jefferson County in a key matchup Friday. The Reds are percentage points ahead of the Braves for the eighth - and final - playoff spot. The Braves complete the week at Belmont County Sunday.
Wheeling Cardinals 11, Barton 5
Wheeling 029 000 0 - 11 15 2
Barton 000 050 0 - 5 4 2
W-Gilles wp (9K, 3W) and Henry; Schmidt 2S, D, 2rbi; J. SanFelippo S, D, 2rbi; T. SanFelippo 3S; Szeligo S, rbi; Mull 3S; Fonner S, 2rbi; Schramm 2S, 2rbi
B-Kurtz lp (0K, 4W), Atkinson (3), (2K, 1W) and Melton; Melton D, 2rbi; Yager S, rbi; Hynes S, rbi
Wheeling Cardinals 7, Barton 3
Wheeling 002 320 0 - 7 14 0
Barton 000 003 0 - 3 7 0
W-Schneider wp (3K, 1W) and Jos. Nagel; Schmidt 2S, D; J. SanFelippo S, T; T. SanFelippo 2S; Henry 2S
B-Kurtz lp (0K, 0W), Wildes (2), (2K, 0W), N. Rocchio (7), (2K, 0W) and Melton; Melton S, D; N. Rocchio HR, 2rbi; Hynes D; Atkinson D
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org