Connor Parks, right, of Marysville slides into second base during a successful steal attempt against Big Walnut in a sectional championship game. The Monarchs cruised past the Golden Eagles, 8-1.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
Gabe Schaeffer of Marysville attempts to put down a bunt against Big Walnut. The Monarchs won the tournament game, 8-1.
(Journal–Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
It looked like it was going to be a long game for Marysville sophomore pitcher Jack Christian as he walked the opening two batters during the Monarchs’ sectional finals game against Big Walnut on Wednesday.
However, looks can be deceiving as the Monarchs took the contest, 8-1.
Marysville head coach Nick Blake said Christian has been in a groove lately that has led to some solid wins for the Monarchs.
“He has kind of found a groove in the last week, week in a half,” Blake said. “When he throws strikes, he is really good.
“The only time he really got in trouble today was the first inning when we put a couple of guys on,” he said. “Once he settles in, teams have a pretty tough time squaring him up.”
The opening inning stumble for Christian led to the Golden Eagles’ only offense of the contest.
It did, however, put the Monarchs in an early hole they were only able to escape when Christian Colvin found first and worked his way around to third on a steal and passed ball.
The Monarchs brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center to tie up the ball game at 1-1 after three innings.
Christian continued his dominance on the mound by keeping the Eagles on the bench.
MHS kept its score climbing in the fourth with two big runs.
The Monarchs worked the Big Walnut pitcher for a few singles to get runners in scoring position. The contact baseball led to two runs and 3-1 lead after four innings.
Blake said it was nice to see his team stick with its offensive approach at the plate and dig themselves out of an early hole.
“We ran the bases well and it is nice to see us to give up one, but stuck with our approach offensively and manufacture some runs,” Blake said.
The Monarchs continued their aggressive approach on the base paths and at the plate to scratch across a run in the fifth inning to take a 4-1 lead.
It was the sixth inning, though, when they pounded the final nail in the Eagles’ coffin with four runs.
Christian also had a solid showing at the plate.
He reached first with a single to the outfield grass and followed with a steal of second.
Christian motored around to third on a Monarch single.
A balk by the Golden Eagles pitcher advance Christian home.
The Monarch bats remained hot as Michael Bonczak worked his way on and Payne Miller found the grass for an RBI and a 6-1 lead.
Bonczak reached third and a passed ball brought him home.
Miller followed suit to score the Monarchs’ eighth run to take a commanding 8-1 lead into the final inning.
Blake said the victory was a great example of his team buying into his aggressive style of baseball.
“We like to keep things pretty aggressive and for the better part of the year, they have done a good job buying into it,” he said. “Today was a good example of being aggressive on the base paths and having a good approach offensively.
“We were able to score a lot of runs.”
Blaine Williams came in to relieve Christian on the mound and gave up one hit before a routine shortstop-to-first ground ball ended Big Walnut’s season.
The 14th seeded Monarchs will now move on to play No. 2 Lancaster in the district semifinals on Tuesday.
Blake said it will be a stiff contest for Marysville.
“We will practice (today) and then on to Lancaster,” he said. “That will be a good test for us in a game that not many people expect us to win.
“Hopefully we can have a good week of practice and then we are playing with house money at that point.”
BW 100 000 0-1 6 0
MHS 001 214 x-8 7 0
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