By Michael Rich
A last inning rally in the opener and some sloppy defense in the second game led to a pair of losses for the Olentangy Liberty baseball team against Medina and Hilliard Darby on a windy Saturday afternoon in Powell.
Collin Winters hit a two-run triple in the top of the seventh that ended up scoring the tying and winning runs for Medina (4-2), which rallied from a two-run deficit to knock off the host Patriots 4-3.
“It’s disappointing to get that close and not be able to finish,” Liberty coach Ty Brenning said.
Preston Stanley pitched solidly through six innings, but ended up without a decision. He allowed three earned runs on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Jordan Seich took the loss for Liberty (3-2).
“I thought Preston Stanley threw the ball really, really well,” Brenning said. “He threw well enough to win — he deserved to win.”
Spencer Yankle, Corey Mayer and Mitch Milheim each had two hits and drove in a run for the Patriots. Mitchell Okuley also reached base twice on a pair of walks and scored a run.
“I thought we had some good approaches at the plate in the first game against a quality pitcher,” Brenning said. “We struggled throughout the game to put hits together back-to-back.”
Spencer Aukerman tossed a complete game to pick up the win for the Battling Bees. He allowed three runs, two earned, on 10 hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts.
Hilliard Darby (4-0) took advantage of some sloppy defense in the second game en route to an 8-4 victory.
Liberty committed six errors total, all of which were in the first three innings as the Panthers built a 7-0 lead and took the game 8-4.
“The bottom line is that we didn’t deserve to win game two,” Brenning said. “We didn’t make enough plays, did not play clean baseball, did not take care of the ball defensively early on, didn’t throw enough strikes in the first two innings.”
Luke Miller had two hits and a RBI to lead Darby and Brice Stultz allowed a run over three and a third innings to pick up the win.
Mayer drove in two runs and Chase Gresock had two hits and drove in a run to lead the Patriots offensively.
Mason Groves allowed seven runs, but only two earned, on five hits and four walks with a strikeout and took the loss.
Liberty opens OCC-Central action at home against Central Crossing today at 5 p.m.
“This will be an opportunity for our kids to show some resiliency and bounce back,” Brenning said.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.