Barnesville blanks Bridgeport, 3-0
BARNESVILLE — Returning to the friendly confines of Memorial Park after a big win over St. Clairsville on Tuesday, Barnesville head coach D.J. Butler didn’t want his to experience any sort of letdown.
Three hitters into the game, Bridgeport had loaded the bases.
Senior pitcher Brady Wildes settled in, proceeded to strike out the next three hitters looking and the Shamrocks really never looked back en route to a 3-0 victory.
“The first inning was huge,” Butler said. “After you strand all of those guys, you can just kind of take a deep breath and it really calms everyone down.”
The Shamrocks not only escaped the first without allowing a run, but they put a run of their own on the board after Ayden Hannahs led off the game with a sharp single and then moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch before Jeremy Hunkler singled him home.
While it was just a run, it felt like much, more to Bridgeport head coach Zach Winland, who watched his club drop to 1-5 on the season.
“We’re growing, but we have to be a little bit better in those (key) at-bats,” Winland said. “We took a couple of pitches that were a little too close. We have to be able to put the ball in play in those situations. We have to take advantage of early base runners.”
Barnesville was able to manufacture another run off of Bridgeport starter Dylan Gregoric, who pitched well despite sustaining the loss.
Ninth-hitter Spencer Bliss led off the third with a single and came all the way around to score from first when Hannahs laced a double into the right-center gap.
That was more than enough runs for Wildes, who was dealing.
“He had a good outing (in relief) against Monroe Central and then picked up his first win against Steubenville Central (earlier this month) and then that effort (Wednesday),” Butler said. “He’s really stepped up this year. He had a great summer and we had high hopes, but he’s even exceeded my expectations.”
Wildes had his entire repertoire of pitches working against the Bulldogs. He finished with 13 strikeouts and scattered three hits.
Other than the first inning, the Bulldogs had only one runner reach third base and two others even get into scoring position.
Barnesville got an unearned run in the sixth.
Gregorcic, who was lifted after four-and-a-third innings of work, finished with five strikeouts and issued nary a walk.
“Both pitchers really filled up the (strike) zone,” Winland said. “Both guys were efficient. (Barnesville) has a really nice ball club over there. Give our kids credit, though. We’re getting better.”
Aiden Tarr — the Bulldogs’ speedy lead-off hitter — had two singles and stole two bases.