Dragons defeat Hornets
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- Coach Bryan Ward wanted his Fairland Dragons baseball squad to jump on the Coal Grove Hornets early at home Tuesday, and they did in 14-4 victory.
Fairland scored eight in the bottom of the first inning and another four in the bottom of the second, to take a 12-0 lead after two frames.
"Coal Grove beat (OVC leaders) Rock Hill last week, but they're the type of team, we feel like, they're young and if we jump on them early, it takes them out of the game," Ward said.
Mind you, the Hornets gave up five hits, four errors, two walks and hit four batters in the first two innings.
The Dragons got three RBIs off of hit batters and one from a walk.
"They did kind of give us the game," Ward said.
Kyle Sowards, who went 3-for-3 at the plate in two innings, hit a three-run double in the bottom of the second, but also created the final out when he got caught in a run-down between second and third.
Coal Grove prolonged the mercy rule effect -- in which a team up by 10 runs wins after five innings -- by getting four runs in the top of the fourth. The offensive outburst came after only having one base runner via a walk in its previous three at-bats against winning pitcher Matt Aliff.
Ward made substitutions at every position except Aliff's going into the fourth inning, and suddenly Coal Grove had racked up four hits and taken advantage of an error to get runs across the plate.
"I thought Aliff pitched a great game," Ward said. "He had a no-hitter going and he knew he had a no-hitter going, so when we gave up a bad hit and then had an error we kind of got discouraged and kind of lost concentration."
But Fairland would settle in again, holding Coal Grove scoreless in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, while getting a run across in the bottom of the fifth off of a sacrifice fly from Aliff.
In the bottom of the sixth, backup outfielder Adam Taylor drew a walk, then came around to score following two throwing errors on a steal attempt, winning the game for the Dragons.
"It's always good to get those young guys in because they work just as hard as anyone else," Ward said. "They were nervous, I think you could see that from some of the mistakes they made, but they came through."
Fairland (11-7) has Ironton coming to their field Wednesday night for senior night, but more important are two games next week against Rock Hill and South Point. If Fairland (7-1 OVC) wins out in those two, the team will have won the Ohio Valley Conference. If Rock Hill defeats Fairland, the Redmen win the OVC.
COAL GROVE 000 400 -- 4 4 7
FAIRLAND 840 011 -- 14 73
Rigsby (0.3) Markins and Pierce; Aliff and Scheiblehood, Canteberry.
Hitting (C) Pennington, RBI, Markins RBI, Carey RBI; (F) Sowards 3-3, 2B, 3 RBIs, Murphy 1-1, RBI, James 1-1, Morgan 1-1.