Pitching needs an offense to back it up. Just ask the Big Walnut baseball team.
The Golden Eagles received a strong outing from junior left-hander Garrett Grover, but the offense managed just three hits against New Albany senior Tommy Parsons, and the visiting Eagles scratched out a run in the seventh inning to beat Big Walnut 1-0 in Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division action last Thursday (May 1) at Big Walnut High School.
“Parsons pitched a good game and so did Garrett,” Big Walnut coach Chris Holly said. “They matched each other inning for inning, but New Albany got timely hits when they needed them and we didn’t. We had chances to score early, but we just couldn’t get the clutch hit. That’s the way baseball is sometimes. It’s a funny game.”
Grover went the distance but took the loss, allowing the run, four hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out eight for Big Walnut (8-9, 3-6 OCC) in his seven innings, but allowed just one hit and his hit batter through six, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. New Albany’s (9-9, 4-4 OCC) Parsons was just as good, allowing just three hits and striking out nine in his seven innings for the win, finishing the game by retiring the final 13 batters in order.
“Garrett pitched well for us, and that was great to see going into the tournament,” Holly said. “We played a flawless game defensively and Garrett kept the game moving at his pace. It was just one of those days when we didn’t hit, and Parsons did a good job keeping us off balance.”
Both teams played a solid game in the field as well, with both teams recording just one error, the Golden Eagles’ coming on a pickoff attempt and the visitors’ coming on a wild throw following an infield single by Big Walnut junior third baseman Brayden Shepherd in the third inning.
Big Walnut had the first chance in the opening inning, when junior shortstop Matt Tarney and senior first baseman Jeremy Bok hit back-to-back two-out singles, but a strikeout ended the threat. Shepherd’s hit and advancement on the New Albany error came with two out in the third, but a fly out closed that frame.
New Albany’s first chance came in the fourth, when Brandon DeHass broke up Grover’s perfect game bid with a single down the left field line, but Grover coaxed Ross Henze to fly out to senior Kyle Duncan in left field for the final out. The Eagles’ James Tennenbaum was hit by a pitch in the fifth with two out and went to second on the Big Walnut error, but again, Grover got the final out, getting New Albany’s Rush Deeter to hit a soft liner to Bok at first base.
In the seventh, New Albany began to string hits together. DeHass hit a leadoff single and stole second, Hunter Tome walked with one out and Matt Trybus singled through the left side of the infield to send DeHass home. Another hit by Tennenbaum loaded the bases, but Grover got out of the jam, striking out Deeter on a foul tip and getting the Eagles’ Jack Flaherty to ground out to junior second baseman Chad Little for the final out.
Parsons did all the work in the bottom half, however, striking out the side to end the game.
Grover finished throwing 107 pitches with 67 strikes, while Parsons threw just 83 pitches, 62 for strikes.
“We had the defense behind him, but we just didn’t get the job done with the bats today,” Holly said. “Parsons, like I said, did a good job of pitching today.”
Shepherd, Tarney and Bok’s singles were the lone Big Walnut hits. DeHass had two of New Albany’s four singles and scored the only run. Trybus and Tennenbaum had a single each, Trybus driving in the run.
LONDON 6, BIG WALNUT 4
BIG WALNUT 16, LONDON 6 — A 9-run fifth inning in the nightcap gave the Golden Eagles a non-league double-header split with the host Red Raiders Saturday in London. The game was called after 5 innings due to the run rule.
Big Walnut (9-10), which collected 13 hits in the victory, was led by third baseman Jakob Evans, 3-for-4 with 2 runs and 3 runs batted in, and center fielder Nick Moser, 3-for-4 with 2 runs, 2 stolen bases and 2 RBI. Chipping in with two hits apiece were left fielder Brandon Daniels, 2-for-2 with a double, 2 runs and an RBI, and second baseman Chad Little, 2-for-3 with 2 runs and 2 runs batted in.
Brayden Shepherd started and went the distance on the mound for the Golden Eagles, allowing 6 runs, 5 earned, on 10 hits. He issued one free pass while striking out 6.
In the first game, designated hitter Jeremy Bok, third baseman Kyle Duncan, Moser and Shepherd, who started at second base, led Big Walnut’s 10-hit attack with 2 hits apiece. Left fielder Michael Blackburn and Shepherd each drove in a run.
Tommy Fleser made the mound start and as tagged with the loss. In 5 innings, he gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits while walking 2 and hitting one. He fanned 7 Red Raiders. Bok worked an inning in relief, allowing 1 run, earned, on 2 hits while striking out 3.