Barnesville keeps rolling with 6-5 road win over St. Clairsville

Bubba Kapral
Special to Barnesville Enterprise
1.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – D.J. Butler has enjoyed much success in his 14 years at the Barnesville baseball helm. Wins against St. Clairsville during that time have been few and far between.

Butler’s Shamrocks, however, pocketed a 6-5 win Tuesday afternoon against the Red Devils thanks to an unearned run in the seventh inning. As a result, the Red & Green improved to a sparkling 7-1 on the campaign.

“This is a big win for us. Our track record against St. Clairsville is not very good,” Butler offered. “St. Clairsville has a tremendous program and Coach (Tom) Sliva is a great coach.”

“It was an exciting game between two good teams and it came down to the final inning,” he added. “You may not see many better games all year than this one.”

Barnesville trailed 5-3 after five innings. The Shamrocks knotted the affair with a pair of tallies in the sixth.

Designated hitter Logan Shepherd walked. Kyvan Johnson singled before the next two Shamrocks batters were retired. Colton Hines drew a walk to load the bases, setting the table for a two-run single by Jeremy Hunkler.

Barnesville pushed across what proved to be the game-winning run without a hit in the seventh. A walk, a stolen base and a throwing error enabled Butler’s boys to move on top 6-5, heading into the home half of the seventh.

St. C. made matters interesting in its final at-bats.

 Catcher Jaren Starks walked and advanced to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by freshman Bralen Blomquist . After a strikeout, Starks advanced to third on a passed ball, where he was stranded as Shamrock reliever Gavin Carpenter induced a groundout to second base.

 “I was happy with our pitching. Gavin did a nice job in relief of Ayden (Hannahs).  Ayden gave us several solid innings early on,” Butler said. “I think we grew up some tonight. We beat a quality baseball team.”

St. Clairsville’s one-run setback to the Shamrocks came on the heels of a 4-3 loss to Cambridge just 24 hours prior. The Red Devils, who played with two regulars sidelined due to Coronavirus protocol, are now 6-4.

“Barnesville outplayed us in all three phases – pitching, fielding and hitting. And when that happens you are not going win,” Sliva said. “I was happy with our pitching but their pitching was really good.

 “We (the team) are not focused on baseball right now. We are more worried about other things,” added the Hall of Fame coach. “That is why we are making the mistakes we are making. Until we become more focused on baseball, we are going to lose games like this. “

Barnesville tallied a single run in the second. Jake Edwards singled and later scored on a fielder’s choice by  C.J. Hannahs.

The Shamrocks made it a 3-0 reading an inning later via an RBI double by Carpenter and a run-scoring single by Shepherd.

St. Clairsville pared the deficit to 3-2 in the home-half of the third. Mason Myers singled and subsequently scored on a Blomquist fielder’s choice. Will Balgo delivered an RBI single to draw the hosts to within one.

The Red Devils took the lead on the strength of a three-run fifth inning.

Hunter Hoffman walked and scored on a triple off the bat of Logan Shields. Starks laid down a bunt single to plate Shields. Blomquist followed with a single before Shields came home on a wild pitch.

Hannahs struck out five and walked two before giving way to Carpenter in the fifth. Carpenter earned the mound win, striking out two and walking a like amount.

Senior Luke Jozwiak started on the hill for St. Clairsville. He struck out two and walked one before being relieved by Saul Crist in the sixth. Myers came on in the seventh with one on and no outs.