After a week of windy, cold, rainy days, the Washington Blue Lion baseball team was once again able to play a game under bright, sun-shiny skies Tuesday when they hosted the Tigers from McClain High School.
The Blue Lions rallied with four runs in the fifth inning for a 4-2 victory.
Until the fifth, Washington had been held pretty much in check by McClain’s Randall Mischal, with only a pair of singles.
The Blue Lions made their breakthrough in the fifth.
With the first batter retired, Conner Chrisman had a single to right field. He soon moved into scoring position with a steal of second.
Caden Cluxton followed with his second hit of the game, this one of the infield variety.
Tim Robinson was up next and he hit a single just past the glove of the McClain first baseman.
With the bases loaded, Cole Massie delivered a solid double just fair down the left field line. That hit scored Chrisman and Cluxton to tie the game, 2-2.
Brian Wilson came through with the Blue Lions’ fifth hit in a row, scoring Robinson and Massie for a 4-2 tally.
In the sixth inning, both sides went out in order.
In the top of the seventh, starting pitcher, sophomore Nick Barrett, finished what he started in strong fashion, inducing three straight ground ball outs to nail down the victory.
It was Barrett’s first varsity start, first varsity win and first varsity complete game, rolled into one.
He gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
“Nick was very efficient,” Washington head coach Tyler Rhodus said. “He was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes. He kept the ball down in the zone all night and produced a ton of ground ball outs.”
After committing seven errors Friday against Wilmington, Washington had just two errors in Tuesday’s game.
Rhodus gave a tip of the cap to McClain’s pitcher, Randall Mischal.
“He did just enough to keep us off-balance,” Rhodus said. “He was moving the ball around. He got us to hit a lot of pop outs. We weren’t able to tee him up until we got to him in the fifth.”
Mischal pitched six innings with seven hits and four runs (three earned) with two walks and one strikeout.
Despite the setback, McClain head coach Richie Bunner sees his team getting better all the time.
“It’s getting better, it’s getting better,” Bunner said. “We played well. The difference is like night and day from the first couple of games until now.
“We lost a tough one at Trace, 5-4,” Bunner said. “We were winning that game. Tonight, we were ahead the entire game, until they scored those four quick runs.
“Randall pitched well,” Bunner said. “We just need to back him and get rid of the tiny things, the errors and mental mistakes.”
With plenty of sunshine in the forecast for the rest of the week, it promises to be a busy stretch for the Blue Lions. It will be an ideal time for folks to come out and cheer on the Blue Lions with each day expected to be warmer than the one before as temperatures climb through the 60s to the low 70s by Saturday.
Washington hosts Miami Trace today, followed by a make-up game at home against Hillsboro Thursday.
The Blue Lions (6-2, overall, 4-2 in the SCOL) will host Clinton-Massie on Friday and then teams from Springfield Shawnee and Zane Trace High Schools come to town for three games on Saturday.
Washington will play Shawnee at 9 a.m. The next game, at approximately 11:30 a.m., will be Zane Trace taking on Shawnee. The Blue Lions will play Zane Trace at approximately 2 p.m.
McClain (0-9, 0-5) will host Highland County rivals Hillsboro for an SCOL contest today at Mitchell Park in Greenfield. It will be McClain’s first home game of the season.
Offensively for Washington: Caden Cluxton, 2-3, 1 run; Tim Robinson, 1-3, 1 run; Cole Massie, 1-3, 1 run, 2 rbi, 1 2b; Brian Wilson, 1-3, 2 rbi; Jarett Patton, 0-2, 1 bb, 1 sb; Aaron Greer, 0-2, 1 bb; Avery Wilson, 1-3; Hayden Hufford, 0-3; Conner Chrisman, 1-3, 1 sb, 1 run. LOB: 3.
Offensively for McClain: Booth, 0-3; Goddard, 0-1; Yates, 0-4; Mischal, 1-4, 1 run; Beatty, 1-3; Easter, 1-3, 1 run, 1 rbi; Hampton, 1-2, 1 bb; Stoney, 0-2; Hall, 1-3, 1 rbi; Adams, 0-3. LOB: 7.
Mc 011 000 0 — 2 5 1
W 000 040 x — 4 7 2
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1