Maynard blanks Barton
MAYNARD — A couple of veteran pitchers allowed Maynard to bounce back from a disheartening loss in its last outing.
David Vicker, who will turn 34 in July, and 43-year-old Jesse Nixon combined on a five-hitter Sunday afternoon as the Indians (2-2) held off a late rally by long-time rival and defending champion Barton (2-2) for a 3-2 Ohio Valley Baseball League victory on the sun-splashed Community Park diamond.
Vicker, who serves as the Maynard player/manager, worked into the fifth inning before giving the ball to the much-traveled Nixon, said the win was huge for one reason.
“This a very big win considering we just got run off the field down at Moundsville. We just took a very big loss, but I told the guys to just forget about it,” Vicker said. “I told them today is a different day, and they seemed to do pretty good in their comeback.”
Jayden Starks tripled to deep center leading off the bottom of the first and Eric Banal walked off Braves starter Tyler Blomquist. B.A. Holloway blooped a single to shallow right as Starks scored and Banal moved to second. A wild pitch advanced both runners 90 feet, and, after the first out was recorded on an infield popup, Jared Kernan’s bouncer wide of third was field and thrown to first for the second out as Banal streaked home with the second run.
The Indians made it 3-0 an inning later when Cory Kotopka launched the first pitch he saw over the fence in left for a solo home run.
Blomquist, who authored a no-hitter late in the season for West Liberty, settled down after that and retired 15 of the final 19 Maynard batters he faced, including 11 of the last 12. He finished with five strikeouts and a pair of walks among his 87 offerings, of which 56 found the strike zone.
“Tyler got into a groove there late. He did a good job,” veteran Barton manager Billy Timko said of Blomquist.
Barton got one run back in the fourth on a fielder’s choice and drew even closer in the sixth when it looked like the Braves were ready to break loose. However, a rare defensive play allowed the Indians to hold on.
Jake Probst walked leading off and Austin Bassa bunted him to second. Kaden Blomquist walked and Matt Fouty legged out a bunt to load the bases. Anthony Zorne drew a full-count to make it 3-2. Drake Dobson’s sinking liner to right fell in front of Maynard’s Klay Cottis, but Blomquist had to make sure the ball dropped before leaving third. Cottis came up firing and lasered a strike to Kernan at the plate to just nip the runner for a forceout. Nixon got a strikeout to end the threat.
“We had the game right there,” Timko noted. “Our baserunner had to hold up to see if the ball was going to be caught. There was nothing he could do about it.”
Vicker took one for the team which had a handful of starters missing from the lineup.
“I was just spotting my pitches. All I can throw is a fastball so I just kept moving it around,” Vicker said of his 62-pitch (38 strikes) effort. “We jumped on them early and held it from there.”
Nixon praised Vicker.
“It’s been about two or three years since I’ve pitched,” Nixon admitted. “But I felt good. David’s arm was hurting really bad in the first inning, but he went back out there for four more. That took guts.”
Nixon, who also threw 62 pitches, fanned five and issued four free passes. Vicker had recorded four Ks and walked one.
Zorne had a double for Barton. Starks added a single to his three-bagger and Holloway singled twice.
Moundsville 8, Shadyside 0
At Shadyside, the Expos blanked the Casketmakers behind the four-hit pitching of Doug Clark. The lefty struck out nine, walked two and allowed all singles.
Tim Mirandy singled three times to drive in two runs for Moundsville. Eric Cover also had two runs batted in.