Barnesville wins 12th straight

NEFFS — Barnesville erupted for 17 unanswered runs Wednesday and the Shamrocks locked up the top seed in the OVAC class 3A baseball tournament with an 18-6 victory against Bellaire at John Blacker Field.

The Big Reds grabbed a 6-1 lead thanks to a five-run third inning, but Barnesville clawed its way back and then some, finishing with 20 hits, including seven extra-base knocks in staying undefeated at 12-0.

“I was disappointed in the way we started,” Shamrocks head coach D.J. Butler said. “We played really focused Saturday (in winning the Shamrock Diamond Classic), but I thought we played the complete opposite of that (Wednesday) for about three innings.

“But (give my guys) credit. They decided to turn it on. We just can’t do that going forward.”

The Shamrocks will play host to Union Local on Saturday in one OVAC semifinal. Linsly and Fort Frye will battle in the other. The two winners will meet for the conference crown next weekend.

Barnesville hadn’t been tested too many times this season, but the Big Reds (3-12) gave it all it could handle in the early going.

After tying the game at 1-1 in the second, Bellaire batted around in the third and scored all of its runs on two hits.

The Big Reds were aided by two errors, one that allowed two runs to score. Cole Runyan belted an RBI single during the frame, which also included a bases-loaded walk to Cody Albaugh that plated another run.

“Give Bellaire a ton of credit,” Butler said. “They’re swinging the bats as well as anybody. They were really aggressive at the plate.

“When we left the ball in the middle of the plate, they took advantage of it.”

The Big Reds chased Shamrocks starter Alex Meade, who was replaced by Ayden Hannahs. And once he came in, he and Gage Hannahs finished the game with a flourish. The duo allowed one hit the rest of the way and struck out three.

“Ayden has done an outstanding job for us, and Gage has been solid,” Butler said, noting he was planning on throwing both of them at some point during the game anyway.

With Bellaire’s lineup controlled, Barnesville got its bats going in the fourth, scoring three runs trimming its deficit to two. Then, in the fifth, it took the lead for good.

With two out and ducks on the pond, Aaron Marovich sent a shot to left center that cleared the bases making the score 7-6.

The Shamrocks batted around for the second time in three frames an inning later, scoring thrice more increasing their lead to 10-6. Riley Tubaugh and Hunter Carpenter were credited with RBI on bases-loaded walks, while Cade Hannahs knocked in a run courtesy of a sac fly.

Barnesville sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh, scoring eight more times. The big blow came off the bat of catcher Jared Kernen, whose 3-run blast helped the team complete the cycle for the day. Tubaugh also knocked in a pair with a triple from the No. 9 hole.

“They’re a phenomenal club,” said Bellaire assistant coach Josh Kernik, filling in for an ill head coach John Patrone. “I told our guys before the game that we want to play our best, and for four innings we played right with them.”

It’s true.

After Barnesville scored first on Uryan Meade’s RBI single in the second, Bellaire answered in the home half of the inning with an RBI double by Vince Patrone before exploding an inning later.

“We haven’t had that many errors all season,” Butler said, referring to the two in the third. “That was very uncharacteristic of us.

“Hopefully, it was a wakeup call for us.”

Bellaire is off until Tuesday when it welcomes Buckeye Local.