Outside of one rough inning defensively, Pettisville was in control for much of the way and cruised to a 16-6 six-inning win at home over Fayette Thursday in Buckeye Border Conference baseball.
Pitcher Gideon Myers was able to eat up a lot of innings on the mound en route to the win, 5 2/3 to be exact, allowing six runs but only one that was earned, on six hits while striking out five Eagle batters.
“He was one of our better pitchers last year so as a senior we need him to step up,” said Pettisville Coach Paul Bishop. “He’s starting to get more into a routine — best pitch tonight was his change-up. Had a difficult time with the fastball and curveball, but luckily he was keeping them way off on their front foot with that off-speed pitch. Definitely was his go to pitch tonight.”
The Blackbirds built a 4-0 advantage in the first inning.
Their first three batters reached on singles, the last coming off the bat of Luke VanDenBerghe that brought home a pair of runs. They added two more later in the frame when Josh Basselman and Caden Bishop reached on errors.
Fayette cut into that lead on a Skylar Lester RBI single in the top of the second.
The Eagles then took advantage of some Blackbird defensive miscues in the third and took the lead.
The first three batters of the inning reached on errors which allowed a run to score. Then Wyatt Mitchell was able to score on a wild pitch, trimming the Blackbird lead down to 4-3.
Caden Leininger tied it up with his RBI single scoring Shane Maginn. Owen Lemley followed with a groundout that scored Leininger, giving the Eagles a 5-4 lead.
That was the last run of the inning for Fayette but when all was said and done, the Birds had committed four of their six errors on the day in that third inning. However, from there they cleaned it up and allowed just one Eagle run the rest of the way.
“I challenged them,” admitted Coach Bishop. “So they responded well to that challenge I gave them. We made plays. And that’s what we said at the beginning of the year, if we make the routine plays we’ll be able to be competitive. So that inning right there has kind of been (like) some of the innings that we’ve had in other games this year. Just errors. So we’ve got to make those routine plays and when we do that, we’re a good team.”
The lack of outdoor practice time also hasn’t helped the Blackbird skipper get his youthful squad up to speed. Like many other coaches in the area, the many rainouts they’ve had has put a damper on their progress.
“We’re a very young team. We got 14 guys, 8 of them are freshmen and sophomores,” Coach Bishop said. “So the weather the way it is, when it’s not good out, we can’t even get outside to practice. And there’s only so much you can simulate inside, and these guys just need a lot of reps — game reps. And we just haven’t been able to get that.”
The Fayette lead was short-lived as Pettisville bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Basselman and Bishop reached on walks, then Mason Wyse got on base via an Eagle error, scoring Basselman and tying it at 5-5.
Later in the inning, Josh Norr drove in two more runs for a 7-5 Pettisville lead.
The Birds also scored four in their half of the fourth to build the lead even further. Basselman’s hit drove in two of the runs, he then came home when Wyse reached via an error, then Nate Rupp’s free pass with the bases loaded put them up 11-5.
Pettisville added another run in the fifth, then a four-spot in the sixth ended the game per the OHSAA run rule. But not before the Eagles were able to get a run by way of Chase Moats’ groundout scoring Elijah Lerma in the top of the sixth.
Basselman finished 2 for 2 with two runs batted in and four runs scored, VanDenBerghe (2 for 3) had three RBIs and two runs scored, and Wyse (3 for 4) a pair of RBIs and two runs scored.
For Fayette, Leininger and Lester each went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Pettisville was back in action Friday when they fell 11-1 in five innings at Patrick Henry. That put the Birds at 2-6 on the season, and they next host Hilltop on Tuesday in BBC play.
Fayette (2-5) welcomes Stryker on Tuesday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.