Barnesville boys rolls over Buckeye Trail

BARNESVILLE — Hits were at a premium Wednesday in the Ohio Division III Eastern District sectional tournament co-finals, but Barnesville made the most of the two it got.

The top-seeded Shamrocks used RBI singles off the bats of Marshall Meade and Aydon VanHorn in the second inning and Jaxon Wiley made the pair of runs stand up in a 2-0 victory over No. 6 Buckeye Trail on the cloud-covered Memorial Park diamond in western Belmont County.

With the cherished win, Barnesville (19-6) will meet No. 4 Garaway, a 14-1 victor over fifth-seeded Martins Ferry, also on Wednesday in Sugarcreek. The district semifinal will be played on Monday at 5 p.m. at a site to be determined by OHSAA officials.

“Jaxon pitched well. He pitches to contact,” Barnesville head coach D.J. Butler said. “There were a couple of innings where he got his pitch count up a little bit, but he had a strong fifth and retired the side in the sixth for the only time in the game.”

The right-hander struck out just three, walked five and allowed three singles. He threw 107 pitches, of which 67 were strikes. His defense bailed him out early on.

The Warriors’ Mason McQuain lined a 1-2 pitch up the middle leading off the game, but he was erased by the strong right arm of Barnesville catcher Caleb Powell and the alert tag by second baseman Reese Stephen after McQuain overslid the bag.

Sam Wayble started the Buckeye Trail second with a single down the third base line, but he was also taken out trying to steal on another strong and accurate throw from Powell. Losing pitcher Tyler Harrell followed with a single to right, but that would be the last hit the Warriors would get.

“At one point this season Caleb was over 50 percent throwing out would-be base stealers,” Butler noted. “He has a strong and accurate arm.”

Barnesville scored all the runs it would need in the second when Wiley coaxed a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Meade then delivered a base hit through the left side of the infield as Wiley raced home to make it 1-0. Meade alertly went to second when the throw went to the plate. He would then sprint home on VanHorn’s base rap to left.

“We knew we had to be aggressive on the bases,” Butler added. “That’s a really good Buckeye Trail team. They made some really good defensive plays on hard hit balls.”

Buckeye Trail threatened in the seventh when Sammy Brown drew a one-out walk. With two out, Laine Wayble’s infield grounder was misplayed as Brown took third. However, Wiley escaped any damage when he got a fly ball to Taison Starr inleft to end the game.

Harrell, who threw 101 pitches in six innings, fanned five and issued five free passes. He wiggled out of a two-out jam in the fifth before retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.


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