Friday, April 13, 2018

Baseball wins fourth straight

The Oran High School baseball team defeated visiting district foe Advance yesterday in coming from behind fashion 5-3 to win its fourth decision in a row.  Three of those wins have seen the Eagles rally to take the lead.

Yesterday, the Hornets scored an unearned run in the first after a lead-off walk, a bloop single and an error off of starter Layne Johnson.  But, the Eagles caught a runner trying to advance home on a potential wild pitch and Johnson struck out two batters to get out of the early jam allowing only the single tally.

Coach Joe Bickings said, " We were able to limit the damage and only allow one run and if you can limit the teams you play to only scoring one run in the innings they score and avoid the crooked number you will have a chance to stay in the game."

"I didn't think Layne had his best stuff on the mound, but he was able to battle and give us a chance to stay in the game," he added.

Oran had their own chance in the second.

After going one, two, three in the first, despite a couple of hard-hit balls.  Cole Priggel worked a one-out walk.  Denver Elfrink singled to left.  Priggel tried to go first to third but was thrown out on a head-first slide.  Elfrink went to second on the throw.  Ty Johnson reached on an infield error, putting two-on with two-out.  But both were stranded.

The Eagles caught a break in the third.  Advance singled with one-out, and following a fielders' choice force-out at second,  the next batter hit a shot to left-field.  It bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, forcing the runner to stop at third. After a walk, Johnson struck out the next to end the threat.

Oran was able to dent the scoreboard in the bottom half of the third inning.

After a lead-off walk, a force-out and a balk (one of four called during the game) and a strikeout Layne Johnson was at second base with two down.  Drew Reischman and Clay Sauceda drilled back-to-back two-out RBI doubles to make it 2-1.  Sauceda's courtesy runner, Dane Shands jogged home on another balk.  The Eagles led 3-1.

That's how it stood until the sixth.

Johnson had retired eight in a row, striking out five of the eight, before allowing a lead-off home run to make it 3-2.  He then struck out two of the next three with a groundout in between, to get his team to the plate.

Elfrink was hit by a pitch to start things off,  he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ty Johnson.  Kole Simms then smashed the ball over the left-field fence to make it 5-2. Layne Johnson and Todd Priggel singled with two-outs, but Oran could do no further damage.

Layne Johnson, who had nearly reached his max pitch count was relieved by Sauceda in the seventh.

A lead-off single greeted Sauceda, after a sac bunt.  the Hornets had a runner on second with one out.  Sauceda was tagged with a balk, moving the runner to third.  A pop-out to Luke Patterson was the second out.  But, during the next at-bat, another balk was called, allowing the runner to score.  A dropped third-strike brought the potential tying run to the plate with two down.  Sauceda induced him to hit a routine fly ball to left.  And the Oran had improved to 6-3.

Coach Bickings said, "The game was a hard-fought win for us.  We knew Advance was going to be tough and come ready to play."

Layne Johnson went six innings to pick up the win, he is now 3-1.  He allowed four hits, two runs, only one earned.  He walked two and struck out 11.  Sauceda (0-0) picked up his first save of the season.  He allowed one earned run on one hit.  He did not walk a batter.  He struck out one and was charged with two balks.

Sauceda was also two for three at the plate with a run driven in.  Reischman also had an RBI.

Bickings told the blog, " I felt like we hit the ball ok but we had some opportunities to score some runs but were unable to.  You can give most of that credit to Advance’s pitcher.  He was able to keep us off balance with his change-up and curveball.  We need the middle of our order to do a better job of driving in runs when we have the opportunities."

Simms has now had a hit in all four games that he has been the designated hitter.

Bickings added, "One of the bright spots that we had at the plate was Kole Simms' home run.  It’s good to see him step up when given the opportunity.  He has had some big hits for us since he has been inserted into the lineup.  He puts in a lot of time hitting and trying to get better every day."

Previously, the Eagles had rallied to defeat East Prairie last Thursday, then Scott City on Friday before yesterday's come back.

Oran improved to 1-0 in district play and will travel to Chaffee for a conference matchup on Monday at 4:30.

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