Carroll, Xenia contest provides thrills, chills


XENIA — What was an otherwise brutally cold and windy afternoon at least had the warmth of hot bats by Xenia and Carroll to provide the only sense of heat available to anyone in attendance during Saturday’s game.

Defense was not a strong point for either side, but Carroll’s stepped up with the game on the line and held off a charging Buccaneers offense to prevail 13-12 in a non-conference road game.

Carroll led by six heading into the bottom of the seventh after adding an insurance run by stealing home in the top half of the inning. Xenia’s patience to let the pitcher prove he could throw strikes slowly paid off as the Bucs three straight walks before Adam Newell smashed a RBI double off the left field wall.

Carroll followed by intentionally walking the bases loaded with no outs, allowing the potential winning run to reach base. A shallow fly prevented a tag up attempt and a strikeout brought the Patriots one out from escape, but Cayden Smith then drew a walk to push the tying run to third.

With the game on the line, Ethan Wells hit a high roller that bounced just off second base and Carroll shortstop Liam Ivory beat Smith’s slide by inches to end the game.

The two teams combined to walk 24 hitters while striking out 23 as the conditions made controlling pitches on the mound a chore. Every gust from above seemingly blew off the hats of at least one player on the field, usually the pitcher, and caused delays between many pitches which added to the chilly misery as players adding layers of clothing as each new inning began.

As the sun shined down between the incoming clouds as bright as it would for the remainder of the day, Carroll jumped ahead in the opening inning by taking advantage of every softly hit liner that became aided with additional distance from the blowing winds to become out of reach of the Xenia infield to score four runs. Both sides scored in each of the first three innings, but Carroll’s crooked numbers put them up 10-3.

Every run mattered and Xenia felt that lesson with several close calls throughout the game.

At least four balls hit in the vicinity of the left field foul line wound up several feet away from fair territory as the winds carried anything hit in the area away from the right field fence.

Xenia’s Evan Harbison smashed a line drive which barely missed the foul pole and bounced back off the fence, according to the umpire’s judgement. He struck out on the next pitch.

On the steal of home by Carroll’s Anthony Wright, Xenia catcher Nate Fellie kept what could have been a wild pitch close to the plate and cut off Wright as he was close to home, but Wright eluded a tag attempt by hopping inside the baseline and was deemed to have not run outside of its boundaries to bring home what turned into the winning run.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

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