Barnesville rolls past Fort Frye, 9-2 for spot in Division III district semis

Mike Hughes
Special to Cambridge Daily Jeffersonian
Barnesville's Aydan Hannahs (2) lets loose with a pitch during Wednesday's 9-2 Division III sectional championship victory over Fort Frye.

BARNESVILLE — Barnesville High's offense endured a mini slump the last half of the season and the result saw the Shamrocks lose some tough games and slide into the postseason losing six of their last 10.

During the seeding meeting, the ’Rocks still drew the No. 2 seed as voters took into account the full body of work. Throughout the sectional tournament thus far, BHS is rewarding said voters for their faith.

After unloading on Newcomerstown for 16 runs in the opening round, Barnesville pushed nine across with a 12-hit attack in defeating Fort Frye 9-2 to advance to the Division III district semifinal for the second-straight season along with giving head coach D.J. Butler his 200th victory as the Shamrocks’ skipper.

“We went through a little lull there the last few weeks where we weren’t hitting that well,” Butler said. “But the last few games, we’ve really stepped it up and we’ve been getting the bat on the ball again.”

Barnesville earlier traveled to Beverly on May 8, splitting an afternoon doubleheader with Fort Frye, falling 4-3 before winning 5-3.

Wednesday’s nine-run outburst bested that combined run total by one. And it started early.

Ayden Hannahs and Jeremy Hunkler led off the bottom of the first with back to back singles, Hannahs motored to third on Hunkler’s ground ball into right field, allowing Hunkler to reach second on the throw.

Barnesville's Guy Carpenter collects a base hit during Wednesday's 9-2 Division III sectional championship victory over Fort Frye.

Jake Edwards followed with a sacrifice ground-out to short, follow by a sac-fly to deep center from Logan Shepherd.

By the time the Cadets managed to make anything happen against Hannahs on the mound, his team afforded him a 8-run cushion.

Hannahs finished with four strikeouts while allowing two runs on four hits in 5-1/3 innings. He overcame a brief bout of control problems in the first inning to hold the visitors scoreless through five.

He’s competitive. He’s as competitive in any sports as any kid we’ve ever had her,” Butler said. “He just decided he was going to bull his neck, go out there and get them and that’s what he did.”

Gavin Carpenter came on in relief and struck out two to preserve the win. He received assistance from Hannahs when the senior, now playing second base, caught a fly ball in shallow center for out number two, paused, and then quickly fire home for the double play.

Butler smiled and explained he thought Hannahs was slow to react given the shallow nature of the fly ball and that he was surprised the player tagged up at third.

Hannahs did damage with the bat as well. Serving as the Shamrocks’ leadoff hitter, he went 4-for-4 with three singles and a triple. He led off the bottom half of the sixth with a blast to deep center that rolled to near the backstop of the opposite-facing field. He motored around to third for a triple, then scored when the next pitch got past the catcher.

C.J. Hannahs and Noah Strauss each drove in two runs for Barnesville, which had seven different players reach first safely and eventually score a run.

Next up is a meeting with No. 1 seed Tuscarawas Valley on Monday at 5 p.m. at Conotton Valley. 

The game will be a rematch of the 2007 district semifinal that took place at River View and saw TV advance via an 8-2 triumph.

Hannahs will likely start, but Butler knows if he’s not ready to go, he’s confident in his stable of arms that his Nos. 2, 3, and 4 pitchers can get the job done.

Given a near-week layoff, he’s working to secure a game for Friday to keep his team active between playoff games.

“We’ve got a lot of days to rest up, but if he’s not ready, we can go with Jake, or Gavin, or Kason (Powell) when the time comes,” Butler said. “If Ayden doesn’t feel he can go, we have three capable arms behind him.”

NEXT — Barnesville will face top-seed Tuscarawas Valley on Monday at Conotton Valley High School for a 5 p.m. district semifinal matchup.