DELAWARE – Olentangy Berlin baseball coach Mike Weaver talked about all the coaches that have influenced him before his Bears took the field for the first time Saturday afternoon.
Coaches like Defiance’s Tom Held, who coached Weaver in his high school days at Bryan, and Central Crossing coach Scott Todd, who he joined as an assistant in the Comets’ second year in existence.
But after a couple of costly errors in the sixth inning led to three runs in a 5-3 loss to Fairfield, the former Olentangy Orange pitching coach referenced one of those influences distinctly in his post-game comments.
“I’m gonna do a Phil Callaghan here – anytime you give up more 90s than you get, 90 percent of the time, you’re gonna lose the baseball game,” Weaver said. “So, we lost the 90s battle with five errors and they had some big hits.”
Just playing on their home field was something of a minor miracle for the Bears.
“We didn’t have a pitcher’s mound two days ago,” Weaver said. “This is our first time on the field. It’s nice to have it – it’s a beautiful facility. We’re very thankful – we have great parents. We’ve been working on this thing since last fall.”
The new field now features a scoreboard, some advertising and one out of two bullpens with the visitor side still a work in progress.
Fairfield relievers had to make the long jog from the first-base dugout to the left-field corner.
“It was all good and it all worked out,” Fairfield coach Tommy Begley said. “We’re just happy to be out playing baseball and not inside in a gymnasium.”
But it didn’t seem to matter. Jarret Hurst tossed 2.1 innings in relief for the win for Fairfield (1-0), which got to town Friday and caught an Ohio State baseball game as a treat before opening its season.
“You can’t travel two hours home and lose, so we needed to get this victory and have a great bus ride home,” Begley said. “It’s been a great experience here – we’ve had a lot of fun in Columbus.”
Hurst got in trouble in the seventh. Josh Moeller reached on an error to open the inning and Jacob Nash and Chris Nash worked back-to-back walks one out later. Tyler Euton grounded out to second to drive in a run – his second RBI of the game.
“We were happy for our pitchers,” Begley said. “In that seventh inning … if we field that ground ball at short, we never get to that situation with the bases loaded.”
Damian Hendricks entered and fired two strikes before coaxing a grounder to second to preserve the win for Fairfield.
“That’s his first varsity appearance and he’s out there doing great,” Begley said. “We’re very happy for him and looking forward to what the season might hold for him.”
“We had some situations where we had runners in scoring position and we had good at-bats,” Weaver said. “We just hit the ball right at some people … and that’ll happen. That’s baseball.”
Adam Wallace was saddled with the loss for the Bears (0-1), though he didn’t give up an earned run in his 2.1 innings of relief for the starter Nash.
Nash goes into the record books as the pitcher that fired the first pitch and strikeout in Berlin history.
He also gets credit for the Bears’ first RBI, which came in the first inning off a sacrifice fly to score Jacob Moeller, who got the team’s first-ever hit on a single to right with one out in the first.
“I told our guys that I was very happy with how gritty we were,” Weaver said. “Our biggest thing is that we’re a next pitch, 1-0 mentality. That’s our culture. I told them that after I was done talking to (them) – we’re 1-0 and worried about the next game. Let’s get better tomorrow.”
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