By ROB HAMILTON
Mount Gilead’s season opened with a 15-4 home win over Gahanna Christian. The score was only 4-2 after two innings of play, but an 11-run third inning put the Indians on the fast track to a win in a game shortened to five frames.
Dustin McAvoy picked up the win on the mound. He pitched four of the five innings and struck out five and walked three during that time. At the plate, the team mustered 10 hits, with Michael Bland hitting a grand slam and Noah Arrington adding a single and double. Tyler Bland and McAvoy both had two hits.
Mount Gilead then swept East Knox in a weekend doubleheader. In the first game, a 4-2 win, Arrington pitched a complete game, striking out two and walking the same number, while scattering six hits.
The Indians scored two in the first inning and never trailed in the game, although it was close throughout. Xavier Harris finished with three hits, while both Ben Hayes and Michael Bland added two.
In the second game, the Indians had to battle back to take a 9-5 win. With MG leading 2-1 entering the fifth inning, the visiting Bulldogs scored four in the top of that frame to take the lead. However, Mount Gilead tallied four in the bottom of the inning and then added three in the sixth to pull away.
Michael Bland wound up with the win after he and Harris combined to strike out seven and surrender nine hits.
Tyler Conners finished with a double for the Indians, while Zac Sturges added a pair of singles.
Northmor was able to pull out a 5-3 win over Mansfield Christian last Monday in their season-opening baseball contest thanks to a fast start.
The Knight put up one run in the third inning and four more in the fourth to build a five-run lead. While they surrendered three scores in the top of the fifth, they were able to hold on to claim the decision.
Winning pitcher Zach Carroll struck out 12 and walked three over four innings of no-hit pitching. Jeff Beck and James Donner (who got the save) handed the rest of the game, combining for six Ks and one walk.
Donner also led the team offensively, as he cracked a double.
Things wouldn’t go so smoothly for the Knights one day later when they hosted Ontario and lost 15-1 in a game shortened to five innings.
Five pitchers (Jake Farley, Zach Neuman, Jordan Wiseman, Daniel Donner and Jarod Vanderkooi) combined to strike out three and walk nine. The team also gave up 13 hits and committed four errors, while only mustering two singles on offense.
“We definitely have to throw more strikes and play more defense,” said head coach Buck Workman. “We had four official errors, but had several more plays we have to make against good teams.”
The Knights then surrendered two runs in both the first and second innings at Galion Wednesday. They could not overcome that deficit in what became a 5-3 loss. Gunnar Lilly (who suffered the loss), Beck and James Donner combined to strike out six and walk seven.
The team picked up nine hits in the game, earned seven walks and got the benefit of two Galion errors, but stranded a whopping 16 baserunners. James Donner finished with three of those hits, while Neuman added two more.
Rob Hamilton may be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 204.