Bellaire explodes late to rout Bridgeport, 13-0

BROOKSIDE — It was a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel Wednesday afternoon on the Niekro Diamond inside Bill Jobko Stadium. Bellaire’s Cody Albaugh and Bridgeport’s Matt Fouty matched goose eggs for four innings as Albaugh had yielded two harmless singles while Fouty had faced just one batter (a walk) over the minimum.

That all changed in the top of the fifth, fortunately for the Big Reds and not so for the Bulldogs, as Bellaire scored seven runs on four hits while taking advantage of four crucial Bridgeport errors en route to a 13-0 victory in a game called after six innings due to the 10-run mercy-rule.

Fouty retired the first batter on a routine infield popup but hit the next batter, Mason Badia, with a 2-2 pitch. Vince Patrone’s grounder to third was misplayed for an error which opened the flood gates, a sight all too common for the Bulldogs faithful.

Austen Rejonis tried to bunt the runners ahead 90 feet, but Fouty’s throw to third sailed down the left field line and out of play as Badia scored. Patrone wound up at third and Rejnois second on the play. Trent Wilson recorded the first hit of the game when his chopper off the plate loaded the bases. Bobby Roth followed with an RBI single to right-center and Albaugh helped his own cause with a two-run base hit to right, making it 6-0. An infield single by Cole Porter capped the outburst.

“That’s what we talk about all the time. Hits are contagious. Runs are contagious and just like errors have been contagious,” Bellaire head coach John Patrone explained. “You have to have the right mindset (going into the game) and today we were positive. We played clean (errorless) ball. That’s something we haven’t done at times this year.

“I told the kids before the game that if we play a clean game, hit the ball and get behind our pitcher, I like our chances,” Patrone added. “Hopefully, this is a game that we can build off.”

Bellaire banged out nine hits, with all but one starter recording at least one.

“That’s the most confident I’ve seen us all year,” Patrone noted.

While Fouty encountered troubles in the fifth, Albaugh did not. The junior went the distance with half-a-dozen strikeouts and one walk. The right-hander spun a 3-hitter — all singles — and needed just 70 pitches (45 strikes) in the crisp 1-hour, 23-minute contest.

“He did a very nice job for us. I haven’t seen the (score) book yet, but he did a very nice job,” Patrone praised. “This was our cleanest game all year.”

The Big Reds (4-13) put things away with a six-run sixth as Albaugh collected another two-run single and Chase Nolan barely missed a home as he drove in two with a double off the fence in deep left. Porter added an RBI single.

Bridgeport has moved its Senior Night game with Buckeye Local from Friday night to Saturday at 5 p.m. due to the softball team playing for the OVAC Tom Bechtel Class 2A championship Friday at 5 p.m.