Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong for the Buckeye Valley baseball team this season.
The case in point was Saturday’s non-league doubleheader sweep at Delaware Hayes.
The Barons were in control of the second game with a four-run lead until the Pacers struck for six runs in the fifth inning, capped by a go-ahead, two-run single by Mason W. Davis.
Barons coach Adam Hall said he was encouraged by his team’s fight after coming back with a run in the next inning and putting the tying run in scoring position in the seventh, but Delaware took the game 9-8.
“I’m proud of the way we’re hitting the ball … I’m proud of our fight,” Hall said. “It’d be really easy to just bury your heads in the dirt after the six-run inning, but they didn’t … they scratched back. We have an opportunity to really make something happen.”
It was the fifth one-run loss for the Barons (2-14) so far this year and the fourth time in the last week that an opponent has used a big inning late to snag a win.
Saturday was a microcosm of the season. Delaware reached base on 11 walks and eight hit-batters over the two games.
“We walked too many guys, we hit too many guys. We had to give away, on the short side, 10 free bags on walks and hit-batters in the second game alone,” Hall said. “You add errors on top of that … it’s hard to keep them from tallying up the lights on the scoreboard.”
It’s been a frustrating year to say the least. So, what was the message Hall had for his team after Saturday’s losses?
“When you’re 2-14, everything seems to pile up on you real quick,” he said. “It’s real easy at 2-14 to cut ties, throw the cards in and just fold it up and go home.
“I told them the coaching staff isn’t giving up on them. Every single coach is going to give (them) all their energy, all their knowledge every day. And we expect the same in return.”
Pacers coach Ryan Montgomery sympathized with Hall. Delaware had Mount Vernon beat last Saturday until the Yellow Jackets tied it in the sixth before scoring two in the seventh to win.
The Pacers (8-10) held a three-run lead Monday at Hilliard Bradley before the Jaguars scored three in the fifth to tie it and added two more in the sixth to snatch the victory.
“We had a few games this year that were winnable for us that we let slip,” Montgomery said. “If we could have those back, our numbers would look a lot different.”
Still, Delaware has a .500 record within reach with a week and a half left in the regular season.
Montgomery thinks his team will surprise somebody in the tournament.
“We can play with a lot of teams – I don’t think our record indicates what type of team we are,” Montgomery said. “We just got to put success together.”
He finally got his ace Tyler Brown back on the mound for the first game after missing the last couple of weeks with an arm injury.
“He’s coming off an injury to his forearm that had him sidelined,” Montgomery said. “We had a certain pitch number we didn’t want him to get above because we knew he didn’t have the same stamina that he would usually have this time of year.”
Brown gave up five runs over four innings, but picked up the win in a 9-5 Delaware win in the opener. Garrett Price played the role of stopper, holding BV scoreless over the final three innings.
Zach Miller’s RBI single in the fourth put the Pacers on top for good.
Travis Pennington had a two-run double to give the Barons a 3-1 lead in the second inning and Branson Kurtz added a two-run single to tie it 5-5 in the fourth.
Dylan Lydy had three hits and drove in four runs on three hits in the second game to pace the Barons, but he took the loss on the mound in relief.
“It was nice to see him come to the plate with confidence,” Hall said. “He saw good pitches. We’ve got a problem now with playing time at first base because the first game, Travis Pennington went 3-for-3, too. We’ve been looking for guys to hit the ball, and now we got guys that can hit the ball.”
Both teams return to league play today. BV hosts Jonathan Alder in MOAC-Red action and Delaware visits Worthington Kilbourne in OCC-Cardinal play. Both are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.