By Brad Morris
Timely execution on the mound, at the plate and running the bases allowed the Circleville baseball team to turn in a statement win on Friday by defeating defending Mid-State League Buckeye Division champion and state runner-up Bloom-Carroll 6-2.
“We talked with our guys before the game and I told them that they had nothing to lose,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said. “We wanted our guys to go out there, compete, battle and that’s what happened.”
The Tigers stranded 10 Bloom-Carroll runners, including getting out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning, and never trailed following the second.
“One thing that stood out was we got into some jams from walking batters or not getting ahead in the count like we want too but when push came to shove, we were able to get out of several jams during the game,” Bigam said.
Bloom-Carroll (1-1, 0-1) dented the plate first with a run in the second, but the Tigers fought back with three runs in their half of the inning.
Circleville loaded the bases with two outs with Angelo Travis and Matt Bradley working walks that were sandwiched around Parker Kidwell reaching on an error.
Nolan West followed by smacking a 2-2 pitch to left field that scored both Travis and Kidwell. Bradley eventually came around to score on a wild pitch to make it 3-1 Tigers.
“We came up with some timely hits and that was definitely a clutch hit by Nolan to give us the lead,” Bigam said.
Circleville (2-1, 1-0) extended its lead to 4-1 in the fourth when West singled with one out, stole second and scored on a single to right off the bat of Scott Moats.
Bigam was pleased to see the Tigers respond both times when the Bulldogs scored after watching his team surrender a 4-2 lead on Wednesday when Miami Trace scored four unanswered runs.
“When we played Miami Trace earlier this week, we had the lead but then Trace came back and took the lead and we just kinda shut down,” he said. “I challenged our guys that we needed to handle adversity better and it was nice to see them step up and do that every time against Bloom-Carroll.”
Bloom-Carroll scored its last run in the fifth to make it a 4-2 game, but the Tigers countered once again in their half of the inning when Travis reached on a single and eventually came around to score when he stole home.
Circleville tacked on its final run of the night in the sixth when Austin Gray tripled to left with two outs to drive in Tate DeBord from first.
West went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored and DeBord went 2-for-4 and scored to lead the Tigers.
“We did a pretty decent job of hitting the ball and hit a few shots right at them,” Bigam said. “We scored five of our six runs with two outs, which was big.”
Nick Burns earned the win by tossing three and two-third innings of relief. He allowed one hit, an earned run and struck out seven batters.
“Carsen Cox started the game for us and didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled, competed and gave us a chance,” Bigam said. “Nick came in and essentially shut Bloom-Carroll down. He did a nice job of attacking the strike zone.”
After a disappointing 13-15 season last year, Bigam hopes the win over Bloom-Carroll will help show the Tigers what they can be capable of this season if they continue to progress as a team.
“We didn’t meet the expectation we have as a program last year and you wonder with dealing with high school age guys if there was going to be a little doubt?,” he said. “Bloom-Carroll has seven guys back from their team last year, so this is a nice win and I told our guys to enjoy it for the rest of the night.
“This should show us what we are capable of when we work on doing what we are asked to. We can definitely build off this and continue to get better as a team if we stay humble and continue to work hard.”
Circleville travels to VA Memorial Stadium today to take on former South Central Ohio League rival Washington Court House. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.