By Cassandra Swartz:
Oak Hall soared to an easy win Wednesday night against Eastside to reach 2-2 on the season. The Eagles traveled across town and delivered a 15-0 shutout to the home team in just four innings.
“The offense really came alive tonight,”said Oak Hall head coach Kevin Maris. “We had some quality hits.”
The visitors started the game off strong against Rams’ starting pitcher Dustin Johnsas Andrew Pickens slammeda leadoff triple into right center. He was quickly driven home on a single by the next batter up, Jackson Beach.
J. Beach’s brother Harrison reached base next, and they each got a steal under their belts to put runners on second and third with no outs. Neil Ruth hit a sac fly to bring J. Beach home and put the Eagles up 2-0.
After another steal by H. Beach, Curtis Degner put himself on base and notched his own steal to again put two men in scoring position.
Matt Leber capitalized by lacing a single to bring both runners home and double the lead. Emory Ezzell followed with a hit of his own that allowed Leber to score from first after a Rams error when trying to tag him out at third.
Down five runs early, the Rams had to face Troy Freeman on the mound.After an initial strikeout, Eastside pieced together a hit, a walk and a double steal to put two men in scoring position, but Freeman threw another strikeout to end the threat.
A medley of Rams miscues helped the Eagles extend their lead in the second. J. Beach drew a leadoff walk, snagged his second steal of the game and advanced to third on a dropped third strike that H. Beach reached first on. J. Beach then raced home on a wild pitch to make it 6-0. After a groundout moved H. Beach to third, he scored on yet another wild pitch to put Oak Hall up by seven.
Freeman added another strikeout to open the bottom of the second before hitting Derrick Williams with a pitch to put a runner on.Some clean Eagles defense followed that up with a double play to send themselves back to the plate quickly.
A muffed ball and an error at first put Ezzell on second to begin the third inning. Freeman drew his second walk of the game, andJ. Beach launched a double to score both of them and extend the lead to 9-0.
In the home half of the inning, Eastside again put men on base, but again Oak Hall kept them from scoring. Two more strikeouts and a nice catch in right field ended the third. The last six runs for the Eagles all came in the fourth and final inning of the night.
Degner led off by reaching second on a dropped third strike and error at first. He crossed the plate on a Leber fielder’s choice that forced Levent Elden out. It was the tenth run of the evening and marked the most runs the team had scored in a game all season.
Another fielder’s choice put Ezzell on base, and back-to-back-to-back walks sent him leisurely home. Then, for the third time, a wild pitch allowed a run to score for the Eagles.
To make it 13-0, H. Beach earned his first RBI of the night and brought home Andrew McManis who was pinch running for Pickens. Facing a significant deficit and still with the bases loaded, the Rams put Maui Schwartz on the mound.
Repeating the pattern from the rest of the game, a wild pitch allowed a run to score. The final run of the night came off of a Degner single. Like in each inning before, Eastside put men on base, but Oak Hall kept them off the board. Freeman tossed three more strikeouts to seal the game and the shutout.
It was a great night for Freeman, who threw the entire gameand gave up only two hits. Over the four innings pitched, he struck out eight. “He’s only a freshman,” said an impressed Maris. “He really took care of the zone and did what he’s supposed to do.”
Offensively, there were an abundance of hits, and one of the stars was third baseman J. Beach. He finished with three RBIs, a single, a double, two steals, two walks and three runs.