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Daughtry, Fuller silence Oak Hill bats in victory

PITCH: Wabash’s Trenton Daughtry fires a pitch toward home during the second inning of the Apaches’ win over Oak Hill on Monday.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

The Oak Hill baseball team’s last two games have come against Wabash. And while both those games have been losses, with Monday’s season-opener for the Eagles seeing the Apaches win 6-1.

The circumstances around the two games, though, were drastically different.

Last spring, the Apaches ended Oak Hill’s season in the sectional with a walk-off win. This spring, with snow falling at first pitch, the Eagles opened their season with the same result.

Behind a three-run first inning, Wabash jumped ahead early and scored in four of their six trips to the plate on the night to secure the five-run win.

“I was really proud of our kids because it is a little chilly today, a little cold,” Wabash head coach Jack Holley said. “The kids came out focused, ready to play. We had a few early little bobbles but after that they kind of kicked it in gear and made some nice plays. Oak Hill’s a good team, well-coached, so you know you have to bring your A-game against them.

“Our pitchers threw strikes today. We didn’t walk a bunch of guys. I told them we have a pretty good defense. Make them beat us. Don’t beat ourselves,” Holley added. “It felt pretty good after the Blackford doubleheader that we played. This is what I think we can do about every game.”

For Oak Hill, it was an early error that stuck with head coach Shane Edwards on the night. After scoring in the top-half of the first inning to lead 1-0, the Eagles saw a fairly routine double-play ball to short mishandled.

One batter later, Wabash was ahead 2-1, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the night.

“The scoreboard is obviously not in our favor,” Edwards said. “We gave up three runs in the first, but I’d have to look and see how they were. I’m pretty confident two of the three were unearned. (We) just had an error there at short, couldn’t make a play. We’re hitting the ball hard. I know Garrod Creech had three lineouts today. Cal Mann had a ball hit deep in left. I think (Wes) Transier had a lineout.

“We’re hitting the ball hard. If we cut down on our mistakes defensively and I think it’s a different ball game. I don’t know if there’s a different outcome, but it may be 2-1 instead of 6-1.”

Oak Hill started the game by reach on an error themselves as Jasper Walter’s throw across the diamond on Wes Transier’s grounder skipped past the first basemen, allowing Transier to take second.

Nate Alston gave the guests a 1-0 lead with a liner into right to plate Transier. Wabash’s Trenton Daughtry would walk Spencer Ballinger to put runners on first and second with no outs, but a pair of fly outs were sandwiched around a strikeout and allowed Wabash to get out of the inning giving up just the run.

Jared Holley started the Apaches off strong in the bottom of the first, singling on a grounder to third. Daughtry would square up the second pitch of his at-bat, lacing it to Alston at short. The junior would bobbled the ball, though, allowing both baserunners to reach safely.

Kallen Kelsheimer stepped to the plate in the next at-bat and, after seeing Holley and Daughtry move to third and second, respectively, on a double steal, would lace a single into left to score the pair and give Wabash its lead.

“I think the difference was, really going back to that play,” Edwards said, “Nate (Alston) had a hard hit ball at him and, he’s not the reason we lost, but it certainly was a critical point where instead of getting a double play and nobody on, it turns out with guys at first and second with no outs. That was hard. We’re still trying to feel our way through this. This is our first game. Our basketball guys have only been back for a week. No excuse. We still have to get better.”

Wabash would add a third run in the frame on an RBI groundout from Kory Fuller to score Kelsheimer.

The Apaches added a run on a sacrifice fly from Daughtry in the second before Kaleb Gidley scored on a wild pitch in the third.

Rob Irgang’s two-out single into left would score Jasper Walter in the fourth to give the Apaches a 6-1 lead.

Defensively, Oak Hill was limited to two hits across the final six innings and just three total on the night as Daughtry and Fuller combined in the stellar effort.

Daughtry went four innings in the win, giving up three hits and one unearned run while striking out three and walking one. Fuller pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit or a walk while striking out two.

“Both of them did a great job today,” Holley said of his pitchers. “They came out and threw strikes and gave up one walk, maybe. That’s the idea. If we do that, we’re going to be pretty good.”

Offensively, Wabash finished with seven hits with Levi Hall being the lone Apache with two hits. Fuller, Holley, Irgang, Kelsheimer and Walter all had a hit apiece on the night. Kelsheimer had a pair of RBIs while Irgang, Fuller and Daughtry all had one RBI apiece.

“We put the ball in play all day,” Holley said. “We swing the bat. We’re aggressive on the bases. We make the teams play defense and that’s what we told them. Good things happen when you put the ball in play in high school. Not just one kid hit. It seemed like all through the lineup, big hits came from a bunch of different kids. I think we scored in every inning but the last one. If we get one or two runs every inning, that’s what we want to do.”

Oak Hill’s hits came from Alston, Ryan Younce and Caleb Middlesworth with Alston having the lone RBI. Transier had a run.

On the mound, Jalen Emery took the loss, giving up four hits and five runs, two earned, in four innings while striking out one and walking two.

Middlesworth pitched an inning with two strikeouts while Max Stefanatos pitched two innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

Oak Hill falls to 0-1 on the year while Wabash improves to 2-2 with the win.