By Michael Rich
Nick Moser became Ohio’s stolen base king with three steals in a game in which Big Walnut dominated 19-0 at Bishop Ready in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon in Columbus.
“It’s a crazy feeling that, after four years and in the last game of the regular season, I finally acquire something like this,” Moser said. “It’s a huge accomplishment and I’m really happy that this happened.”
Moser, who now has 172 stolen bases for his career, is the Ohio high school all-time career stolen base leader, supplanting Gates Mills Gilmour Academy’s Matt Figgie.
“I couldn’t thank coaches and teammates (enough),” Moser said. “I’m happy — I feel great about it.”
Figgie stole 170 bases in his career from 1982 to 1984, obliterating a 15-year-old record at the time by 56 stolen bases.
“That’s a record that’s 32 years old,” BW coach Chris Holly said. “(Moser has) worked hard to get it. He got some good jumps today and he was able to get it.”
Moser bunted for a hit down the third base line to open the ball game. After one throw over, he took off on the first pitch and easily stole second base to tie Figgie’s mark.
Noah Sprowls sent a deep fly ball to right on the next pitch and Moser paused to decide whether or not he would tag.
He could see Holly telling him to come on down to third and Moser obliged.
“I (thought about staying at second), but at the same time, everyone’s watching,” Moser said. “I don’t want to be that guy.”
Two batters later, he scored on a two-run single by Jakob Evans to give the Golden Eagles (17-9) a 2-0 lead — an advantage which turned into a four-run lead by inning’s end.
Moser came to the plate with runners at second and third in the third inning and lined a double down the right field line to score both runners to push the lead to 6-0. Standing at second, he took off for third on the next pitch.
“I was looking at the pitcher before the pitch and I was like, ‘I think this is it … I think this is when it’s going to happen,’” he said.
He went in sliding, though no throw was made.
“My first instinct is to always slide … better be safe than sorry,” Moser said.
He turned and saw his teammates out of the dugout to salute him on his achievement.
“It was an amazing feeling to see that happen,” he said. “You can’t put it into words.”
From there, the only suspense left was whether or not the weather would hold off long enough to get five innings in to make it a complete game.
Eagles starting pitcher Tommy Fleser, who pitched brilliantly over four innings, allowing two walks and a hit with seven strikeouts.
“Tommy came in and threw strikes and kept his pitch count down,” Holly said.
BW sent nine batters to the plate and scored seven runs before the first out was recorded in the fifth, which included a double-steal that yes, included Moser, which upped his stolen base total to 172 by days end.
“We just kept hitting the ball in the fifth inning … we put the bat on the ball well (Saturday),” Holly said.
The Eagles plated 12 runs when the inning finally ended. Austin Becker then came in to close it out with a 1-2-3 inning.
Nick Dimitroff, Jakob Evans and Connor Gerren each finished with two hits and two RBI for Big Walnut.
Corey Hall picked up the only hit by the Silver Knights (11-14) a leadoff single in the second inning. Damian Lehnert took the loss on the mound.
Next up, BW opens the district tournament against the winner of Dresden Tri-Valley and Licking Heights at home Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Buckeye Valley at Pleasant (DH)
All bets are off in the last game of the regular season, and Buckeye Valley freshman Zach Mitchell dazzled in his first varsity start.
He went the distance in a complete game 5-4 victory against Pleasant in the second game of a doubleheader in which the two teams split Saturday afternoon in Marion.
Mitchell allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits while walking six and striking out three.
“We wanted to give him a chance and see how he could do against varsity-level hitting,” Barons coach Adam Hall said. “He pumped strikes, he pounded the zone, he was good with his off-speed stuff and kept the hitters off-balance.”
Josh Dodds produced in each of his at-bats in the win. He had a RBI hit, a sacrifice bunt that drove in a run and a RBI sac fly.
Max Gentile led the Barons with two hits and a RBI.
BV pounded out 12 hits in the early game, but dropped it 16-10.
Ben Spaulding had four hits in five at-bats with a triple, four runs and three RBI. Hunter Mitchell had three hits and a RBI and Nick Cooper added two hits and a RBI for the Barons in the setback.
“We have been struggling lately so for (Spaulding) to set the tone in that first game was a big deal,” Hall said. “Spaulding, Cooper and (Hunter) Mitchell are our one, two and three (hitters), so for them to get the majority of hits — that’s what we expect out of them.”
BV opens district tournament play at Bexley in the first round Tuesday night at 5 p.m. Bexley plays its home games at Capital University’s Clowson Field.
Cardington-Lincoln at Hayes (DH)
Hayes’ regular season-ending doubleheader was an inconsistent one as the Pacers split with the visiting Pirates.
Hayes (9-16) did the bulk of its damage in the opener — a solid 15-2 five-inning win.
The Pacers plated four runs in the second before adding 11 in the fourth to seal the deal.
Tyler Brown finished a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored while Noah Watts also had three hits and a pair of runs scored in the win.
Mason W. Davis did some damage, too, finishing 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI.
Mason J. Davis, meanwhile, picked up the complete-game win on the mound, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out three and walking one.
Hayes didn’t score in the nightcap until the sixth inning, when a three-run frame pulled it within two before cementing the eventual 5-3 loss.
Watts had a triple and Josh Allen had a double and an RBI in the setback.
Also: Orange 5, Worthington Kilbourne 0.
DeSales 17, Big Walnut 0; Liberty 12, Worthington Kilbourne 2; Elgin 13, Delaware Christian 3; Elgin 11, Delaware Christian 1.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.