By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — If Beavercreek coach Brandon Long needed an example of how every single run matters in a baseball game, Wednesday night’s battle with conference rival Centerville became proof of that.
Beavercreek scored its only run in the first inning, and it proved to be the winning one, in a 1-0 contest at Wright State University’s Nischwitz Stadium.
Lead-off man Corey Jordison singled to right, moved to second on an infield error, reached third on Jackson Back’s sacrifice bunt, then the Beavers second baseman scored on an infield groundout. Cleanup hitter Ben Weese was credited with the run batted in.
“That’s been our game plan all year. We have to start fast, we have to start early,” Long said. “Most of our wins have come when we’ve gotten that first run early on like that. And Corey has done a great job of getting on base early for us and scoring runs for us. That’s been invaluable.”
And once Beavercreek (5-1, 3-0 GWOC South) grabs a lead, their pitchers do a nice job of ensuring that the Beavers stay out in front. Future University of Virginia Cavalier Jackson Tedder struck out nine Centerville Elk batters while allowing three hits in the complete-game shutout.
“Getting out here on a nice field like this, it just motivates me to play better and to get my team the win, especially in front of all these people that came here today,” Tedder said. “… Corey always gets on base, and he always scores that first run for us, that’s huge. Obviously, we won today’s game thanks to him being able to do that so well.”
Tedder was named a unanimous choice as the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“Jackson is an outstanding young man and a phenomenal pitcher,” Long said. “And we know that when he’s out there on the mound, we can beat anybody.”
Jordison, Funderberg and Weese collected the only hits for Beavercreek against Centerville righty Seth Pritchett.
Centerville’s Daulton Miller retired the final Beavercreek batter of the third inning and the first Beavers batter of the fourth in grand style. The junior left fielder dove headfirst into foul territory to make dramatic catches twice to retire Beavercreek batters.
The Beavers threatened again in the bottom of the sixth. Treyben Funderberg led off the inning with a double down the third-base line, then advanced to third on Back’s deep flyout to right field.
But Centerville starting pitcher Seth Pritchett made two consecutive back-hand stops and threw out the next two Beavers batters to end the threat.
Centerville (6-6, 2-1 GWOC South) loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, but Tedder got the Elks’ August Eggert to flyout to Funderberg at short for the game’s final out.
“I definitely bear down a bit more when I get in a situation like that. I didn’t want to go into extra innings,” Tedder said. “I’m just glad we got the win.”
Beavercreek entered the game tied with Centerville and Kettering Fairmont for first place in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s Central Division. Depending on how Fairmont fared against Clayton Northmont on Wednesday, Beavercreek could be all alone in first.
“It’s waaay too early to worry about that right now,” Long said. “We have another game with Centerville (today) to worry about. I’ve gotta give credit to Jason (Whited’s) guys, they made every defensive play tonight. They made the big plays, so I’ve gotta give them credit there.”
Today’s game at Centerville is also Military Appreciation Night.
Wednesday’s game was part of the Skyline Chili-sponsored Reds Futures High School Showcase. This was the first year for Nischwitz Stadium to serve as one of the 15 Southwest Ohio venues for the 47 games, which run through April 30. All players and coaches of the 92 teams involved will be invited to Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park to participate in a “March at the Majors” parade prior to the April 24 Major League ball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs.