Such has been the trademark for No. 3 Adena this season, as the Warriors stood at 26-2 entering Tuesday's district semifinal with Minford. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Adena stuck with the script, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to pick up an 11-0 victory.
“We didn't field the ball well at all,” said Minford coach Tim Martin. “Jared (Farmer) pitched a good game, but we just couldn't come up with some timely key hits. You have to field the ball and throw the ball, and we didn't do that tonight.”
The Falcons committed four errors on the evening.
The Warriors' state ranking didn't impress Minford, as it allowed just two runs over the first three innings. As it would turn out, that would have been all Adena would need, as pitcher Buddy Barnes kept Falcon runners off the basepaths, allowing just two hits and two runners past first base.
Adena would add two more in the bottom of the fourth to make it 4-0, but Farmer's pitching and the Minford defense would keep more runs from crossing the plate.
“They have a well-coached team,” said Farmer. “I was pleased with my performance. I missed some spots, but the team did their best to back me up.”
The Falcons could not capitalize on that pitching, and would remain scoreless heading into the bottom of the fifth. They wouldn't get another chance to bat, as the Warriors scored seven runs in the inning to bring the game to an early end.
The scoring was capped off by L.C. Guthrie, who blasted a two-out, two-run home run to left center. Teammates T.J. Pierce, Clint Rouse and John Knauff would also add multiple hits in the win.
According to coach Ed Yates, the hitting barrage played into the team's philosophy of running pitch counts up in the early innings.
“You really beat a good pitcher in the later innings when you raise his pitch count,” said Yates. “After the first two innings, we had his pitch count up to 43, so we keep an eye on that. If we can get his pitch count in the 70s, 80s or 90s in the fourth inning, we know that by the time the fifth or sixth innings roll around, he will be wore out. We try to wear down a pitcher, and you will do that if you keep it up.”
Roush and Knauff were each 3 for 3 in the game, both scoring two runs apiece. Guthrie was 2 for 4, and T.J. Pierce was 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI. While the hitting ultimately propelled Adena to another win, it was the defense that kept the Falcons flustered as the Warriors committed just one error.
“We work hard on fielding,” said Yates. “When we practice tomorrow, after we stretch, we are going to take fielding. We understand that we need to field routine balls. Every once in a while, you are going to make a spectacular play, but you need to make those routine plays all the time.”
The loss ends Minford's season at 14-9, but the Falcons finished second in the SOC II, and lose just three seniors to graduation. While Tuesday's game may have left a bad taste in the team's mouth, Minford might just be making a return trip.
“We will be back next year,” said Martin. “We have too good of a group of kids not to be. Maybe the next two years, even.”
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.
Minford 000 00 - 0 2 4
Adena 101 27 - 11 13 1
WP: Buddy Barnes. LP: Jared Farmer.
Minford - Luke Lester 1-2; Andy Bailey 1-2.
Adena - Clint Roush 3-3 3B, 2R; John Knauff 3-3 2R; L.C. Guthrie 2-4 HR, 2 RBI; T.J. Pierce 2-2 RBI, 2R; Dylan Givens 2B.
Records - Minford 14-9; Adena 27-2.