Blue Eagles Win Sixth OVAC Baseball Title
Magnolia 4, St. Clairsville 1
The Magnolia Blue Eagles captured their sixth Class AAA Title – the first since 2001 – when they beat the St. Clairsville Red Devils 4-1 May 2 at Steubenville’s Vaccaro Field.
“I’m very happy for our kids, not just because we won this game, but because we beat a high-quality opponent,” said MHS Head Baseball Coach Dave Cisar. “We expected nothing less than a hard fought battle and that’s exactly how this one turned out.
After giving up a run in the top of the first inning, Magnolia hurler Andrew Robinson went to work shutting the door every time the Devils tried to put a foot inside.
In the bottom half of the first, Robinson walked, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out and then scampered home on a wild pitch to even the championship game at one.
Robinson ignited a two-run third, beating out a picture-perfect bunt. He stole second again and scored on a Jordan Ash single. Ash then scored when Davey Howell ripped a liner off the right fielder’s glove for an RBI single to push the Big Blue lead to 3-1.
St. Clairsville put runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings, but Robinson & Co. held tough and put out the fire with outstanding defense.
Magnolia got an insurance run in the sixth when Howell walked. Mason Rine sacrifice Howell to second on a bunt that he almost beat out. Traeh Keller followed with an RBI single for a 4-1 Magnolia lead.
Robinson induced three double plays in the game, including the game-ending, 1-6-3 double play. “You’ll almost always give yourself a chance to win if you play good, sound defense,” added Cisar. “I thought we were a little shaky early, but the kids came back to make some clutch plays.”
Robinson got the win from the mound. He struck out four and walked one in the complete game victory. He singled and doubled and scored twice. Keller also singled and doubled, while Justin Fox, Landon Herrick and Ash each singled for Magnolia.
Magnolia 15, Paden City 1
Magnolia shortstop Jordan Ash drilled a grand slam home run to right center to highlight a nine-run sixth inning to help defeat Paden City 15-1 April 29 at Paden City Park.
After two consecutive Magnolia outs to start the game, Seth Pay ripped a single off the glove of second basemen Wes Cosper who made a nice attempt to field the ball. Pay advanced to second when Paden City pitcher Josh Bennett tried to pick him off on a throw that PC first baseman Keith Kline mishandled. Justin Fox singled in Pay for the game’s first run.
In the bottom half of the first, the Wildcats pounded the ball, but they were all right at a Blue Eagle defender for three straight outs on four pitches.
In the second inning, Traeh Keller lined a single and later scored on a Ben Clark single. Landon Herrick single, pushing Clark to third. Herrick scampered to second without a throw, putting two Blue Eagle runners in scoring position.
Andrew Robinson beat out an infield single that plated Clark and pushed Herrick to third. Robinson tried to steal second, but Paden City catcher Malakai Anderson picked him off. Pay followed with his second straight single, plating Herrick. Ash drilled a liner to shortstop Ricky “Doctor” Wright, who stepped on second and rifled a bullet to Kline at first for a double play.
In the bottom half of the second, Wildcat Ryan Thoburn drilled a rocket past a diving Robinson at first for a single. Two straight walks by hurler Mason Rine had the Blue Eagles in trouble with no outs and the bases loaded.
After a short chat with Blue Eagle Head Coach Dave Cisar, Rine would strike out the next two batters, followed by a pop out to first base to get out of a bad situation.
Fox singled and stole second to start the third frame. He then advanced to the hot corner on a catcher’s overthrow. A successful suicide squeeze by Rine plated Fox and Keller, then cracked his second straight single.
A the top of the third, Paden City’s Anderson threw out his second Blue Eagle baserunner trying to steal. Cosper walked to start the bottom half, but would be stranded on three straight fly outs.
Bennett put the Eagles down in order with the help of two nice catches by Thoburn in center field. One was a diving catch that would have made the top 10 on Sports Center. On the second catch, Bennet brought back what appeared to be a Robinson home run.
In the fourth, the ‘Cats put their first batter on with the help of an error by Herrick. After a couple throw backs to first to keep the base runner in check, Magnolia’s Rine made a quicker throw to catch a Wildcat runner off guard for an out. The next Paden City batter drove a harmless fly to right field that Clark mishandled for the second error of the inning. After a pop out, Paden City’s Kline walked and Rine struck out the next batter – looking to get out of another jam.
Pay reached first for the third straight time on a walk and would book to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a ground out and came home on a sacrifice fly by Clark.
Cosper would get things started for the ‘Cats in the fifth with a drive to deep left center off Magnolia reliever Jordan Moore – just inches away from from a diving Davey Howell for a stand up double. Wright clubbed a slow roller to second that Herrick couldn’t handle, putting Wildcat runners on the corners. Anderson hit a hard grounder to short that scored Cosper. Anderson then made his way to third and tried to steal home but was tagged out by Keller at home plate.
In the top of the sixth, Rine singled off the second base bag, Keller walked and Clark bunted for a single to fill the bases. Moore hit a grounder to Cosper at second, who tossed it to Anderson at home. But, Anderson couldn’t come up with it clean and Rine scored. Robinson drilled a single down the right field line to plate Keller and Clark.
Pay reached first base for the fourth time – his second free pass – to load the bases. After two pitches, Ash drilled a grand slam home run and Fox followed with a walk. Howell singled to become the ninth straight batter to reach base. Fox would then touch home on a Jayson Keller ground out for the final tally of the game.
Mason picked up the win from the mound. He tossed four innings of shut out baseball, struck out three and walked four. Moore got the save, striking out a pair in two innings of work. Bennett took the loss with one strike out and six free passes.
Thoburn, Cosper and Wright each got a hit, while Anderson drove home the only run for the Wildcats with a sacrifice fly.
Ash led the way for the Blue Eagles with a grand slam homer, while Pay reached base four times with a pair of walks and a pair of singles. Robinson, Clark, Keller and Fox each singled twice, while Rine drove in a run on a single.
Magnolia 11, Tyler 1
Magnolia scored 10 runs in the first two innings April 28 against sectional rival Tyler Consolidated at Mullett Field. Seth Pay limited the Silver Knights to two singles, as the Blue Eagles improved their record to 11-4, prevailing 11-1.
The Eagles’ Davey Howell singled and blasted a three-run home run in support of Pay who tossed a mercy-rule shortened game of two hits and four strikeouts.
Mason Rine singled, doubled and drove in a pair of runs, while Drew Simmons plated a run on a pair of singles to help Howell lead the balanced Eagle attack. Other batters finding Knight pitching to their liking included Drew Fruner, Andrew Robinson and Traeh Keller each with doubles, while Ben Clark, Justin Fox and Jordan Ash each added RBI singles.
Silver Knight Michael Cochran singled home the lone Tyler Consolidated run in the fifth inning to break up the shutout.