The Olentangy baseball team sent nine to the plate and scored four runs in the first inning to take control, then played add-on on its way to an 11-6 victory at Upper Arlington in non-league play Saturday afternoon in Upper Arlington.
The Braves added a run in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and another in the sixth.
With each inning, Olentangy coach Ryan Lucas could see the confidence growing at the plate.
“I feel like I could see our confidence grow throughout the game,” he said. “I think this is a team that would be very good at playing every day because they need that confidence … they need to just keep playing.”
Olentangy struggled offensively in its first two games, turning 10 hits into just three runs in its opener at Worthington Kilbourne and picking up just five hits in the follow up against North Union.
It’s one of the reasons Lucas took this game after cancelling a tri-way with Big Walnut and Strongsville. Olentangy and Big Walnut were scheduled to play at 4 p.m., but the field wasn’t going to be ready in time. Lucas said he hoped to be able to reschedule with BW.
Olentangy used timely hitting and took advantage of more than a few free bases to score four runs in the first. All told, Olentangy used three hits, three hit-batters, a walk and a wild pitch in the opening frame.
“It was just nice being able to play today after getting our games cancelled,” Senior Berto Carselle said. “Scoring four runs in the first inning was a huge start – especially on a day where guys could be lagging behind – low on energy. We came out roping the ball and having great at-bats.”
The Braves followed it up with runs in each of the next five innings to add on to the lead. The team worked eight walks in the game and scored two runs off squeeze bunts, using everything in its arsenal in the win.
Carselle led with two hits and a pair of RBI, one of three players to drive in two runs. Jake McIntyre had a hit and 2 RBI and Luke Hassinger had 2 RBI as well. Cameron Kaiser also had a pair of hits and scored two runs.
“When we’re having at-bats like this, we’re going to be a tough team to beat,” Carselle said. “Everybody’s getting better at the plate the more at-bats they see.”
Caden Kaiser went the front four innings on the mound to get the victory, giving up five hits and a pair of walks while striking out five.
He was charged with three unearned runs after an error kept the fourth inning alive for Brandon Horsley to rocket a home run over the right field wall.
“We’re starting to see guys that are becoming leaders,” Lucas said. “We’re getting guys that are talking … so, I like the fact that we were mentally tough enough to move on past that against a good team.”
Horsley led the Golden Bears with 4 RBI on a couple of hits and Sammy Sass led with three hits to go with a RBI.
UA (2-2) defeated Bexley 6-0 to open the day.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.