Derek Bails, right, of Triad makes contact with a pitch as Fairbanks catcher Evan Blumenschein prepares to catch the offering during Tuesday’s Ohio Heritage Conference game at Triad. The Cardinals toppled the Panthers, 13-5. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The Triad baseball team built off its win over Ohio Heritage Conference opponent West Liberty on Monday with a 13-5 triumph over Fairbanks the following day.
The Cardinals notched early hits, but also capitalized on the Panthers’ wild pitching. Fairbanks hurlers Max Snyder and CJ Swartz gave the Cardinals nine free bases by either walking or hitting batters.
Triad also pounced on Fairbanks’ wild pitches or passed balls to notch four runs.
FHS coach Josh Rine knows that pitching is a real concern.
“Our pitchers are young guys and they don’t throw hard enough to strike guys out ,” he said. “Their off-speed pitches aren’t really good.
“Teams are going to hit against them, so they are going to have to hit spots, mix it up and throw strikes,” he said. “They weren’t able to do that today.”
The pitching woes led Triad jumping out to a 4-1 lead after two innings.
Coach Jon Roberts said his team needs to take every opportunity on the base paths to move across the plate.
“We have good base speed and are trying to utilize that once we get them on and get them in,” he said.
Finding themselves in a hole, the Panthers eventually got their timing down against Triad pitcher Blake Boldman.
CJ Swartz led off the third inning with a single in the gap between third base and shortstop.
Evan Blumenschein dinged a hot shot off Boldman for an infield single that scored Swartz.
Ryker Beaty legged out an infield single that moved Blumenschein.
Nathan Combs hit a shot in the grass for a single RBI that inched Fairbanks to within 4-3 after the third.
FHS continued in the top of the fourth when Grant Rausch hit a single in short center field that plated Brice Phelps.
That knotted the game at 4-4 by the end of the fourth.
The Panthers notched hits in the middle innings with Snyder picking up an RBI single in the top of the fifth to give Fairbanks its first lead at 5-4.
That lead was short lived as Triad’s Ryan Gross hit a lead-off single in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Gross eventually scored on a passed ball that tied the game at 5-5 after five innings.
Roberts said his team is starting to gain experience to pick up wins.
“We are starting to get that ‘gaminess’ that we lacked in the beginning of the year,” he said. “We still have some spottiness here and there, but we are starting to get that game experience.
“I think things are starting to connect with them and they are seeing the broader game.”
The wheels fell for the Panthers in the bottom of the sixth.
Rine brought in relief pitcher Swartz to take over on the mound.
Triad quickly adjusted to the change and stung the new arm for eight runs in the inning.
Triad tallied six of its 11 hits in the sixth, while Swartz put a few runners on base with walks and by also hitting Jared Spors.
One run after another rounded the bases as Swartz tried to get pitches across the plate.
Rine said his team is looking for a leader during innings like the sixth.
However, with so many young players, that leader has yet to be found.
“We are a glorified JV team right now playing varsity baseball because we are starting so many sophomores and freshmen,” said Rine.
“We are looking for leadership and unfortunately we don’t have it.”
Derek Bails closed out the game on the mound for the Cardinals and shut the Panthers down in order in the top of the seventh.
Triad moves to 2-3, while Fairbanks fell to 3-4 on the season.
FHS 012 110 0 5 7 1
Triad 220 018 x 13 11 2