RIVERSIDE — Reliable pitching, to go with solid defense behind him; and plenty of opportunistic hits as well, earned visiting No. 14 seed Bellbrook a 12-4 win over No. 13 seeded Carroll on May 10, in the first round of the Division II high school baseball sectional tournament.
The Golden Eagles scored at least one run in each of the seven innings played, collecting 13 hits while not committing a single error. Bellbrook coach Rich Demko appreciated the effort.
“It was a solid overall effort for us. We always try to score early and often,” he said. “We had the bases loaded in the first inning, but they made a nice double play so we didn’t score as much as we had hoped to, but overall yeah. Our guy (Chris Ljungren) was not over-powering, but he threw strikes and got out of a couple tough situations. Yeah, it was solid pitching. He pitched six solid innings for us.”
Jacob Schmidt led off for the Golden Eagles, going 4-for-4 with a solo home run. Bennett Poloquin went 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk and an RBI, clean-up hitter Jake Todd doubled, drove in two runs and scored another, Sam Sherrill got on base four times on an infield error, two walks and a bunt single, scoring three runs.
Demko was particularly pleased with the team’s designated hitter, Jayden “Ted” Elliott, who went 3-for-4 from the No. 8 spot in the batting order with two doubles and three RBI.
The game was originally washed out on Tuesday. With Bellbrook’s Wednesday win, they’ll have a quick turnaround for their next game, which is 5 p.m. Thursday, May 11 on the road against No. 3-seeded Waynesville. The two Southwestern Buckeye League teams did not play each other during the regular season.
“It’ll be a challenge for sure, but we just need to play our game and battle,” Demko said.
Asked to describe Wednesday’s loss, Carroll coach Mike Sheet said the game was almost a summary of the Patriots’ season.
“Just like in this game, we would hang in the contests early for the first 3-4 innings and then things would come apart,” he said. “One game would be mental errors, but no physical errors. The next it would be physical errors, but good pitching. Then the next wouldn’t have good pitching … We just never seemed to put it all together very often.”
Johnny Adkins gave his Carroll teammates something to shout about when he drove a solo home run over the left field fence in the fifth inning. Karter Peck was the lone Carroll player with multiple hits (2-for-3), and Patriot seniors Fred Albino (3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and Donovan Martinez (1-for-4) played their final high school games for Carroll.
“I want to wish them both the best of luck. They are two kids that I’d like to see come back, whether it is just to visit or to come back here and coach,” Sheets said. “Fred was here since he was a freshman, and Donovan came over as a transfer from Stebbins. … I enjoyed having them both.”
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.