XENIA — National Trail’s baseball team opened OHSAA Tournament play on Monday, May 9, against CCC foe Bethel and came away with a 6-3 win. The game was played at Athletes In Action Sports Complex in Xenia.
The Blazers will host Greenon in the second round on Wednesday, May 11, at 5 p.m.
On Friday, National Trail didn’t give Michael Bane much run support, but the NT senior was able to get it done on senior night without it. Bane pitched seven strong innings to carry National Trail to a 1-0 win over Tri-Village on Friday, May 6, to close out the regular season.
The Blazers held Tri-Village without a run while Bane was on the mound. He pitched a shutout, allowing no runs on four hits while striking out three.
Jonny Wilson took the loss for Tri-Village. He threw six innings, walked two, struck out 10, and allowed one run.
The lone run of the game for Trail came in the fourth inning when Angel Garabito singled to bring in National Trail senior Billy Lanman. That one run was enough for the Blazers to come out with a victory.
National Trail coach Jeff Parker said it was fitting that in their final home game as Blazers on senior night, the Blazers’ only two seniors had such an impact on the outcome of the game: Michael Bane tossing a gem on the mound, and Billy Lanman scoring the games only run.
On Thursday, National Trail pulled out another close game with a 5-4 CCC win over Bradford in eight innings. It was the Blazers’ third one-run game out of the last four, and second extra inning affair of the week.
Quality pitching was the name of the game again for NT, as Logan Pettit threw seven innings of five-hit baseball. Pettit struck out five, walked three and gave up just one earned run. Each of Trail’s errors led to Bradford runs. Bane picked up the win after pitching a scoreless eighth.
Offensively, the Blazers pulled a familiar trick when they jumped out to an early lead and then didn’t play add-on. Dom Huffman and Billy Lanman led the game off with a base hits and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Bane recorded the first RBI with a sacrifice fly. Chip Parker collected the other RBI of the inning with a bases loaded walk.
Huffman and Lanman again got things started in the second with back to back walks. Bane was hit by a pitch to load the bases. This time Angel Garabito came up with a clutch hit when he laced a two-out single to right field that scored Huffman and Lanman.
The Blazers didn’t score again until the eighth inning, despite the fact they collected eight hits after the second. Trail just couldn’t come up with a clutch hit after Garabito’s as they stranded 14 base runners for the game.
Pettit appeared to lead off the eighth inning with a double. However, he was called out after he missed first base. Garabito followed up with his third hit of the game and advanced to second on a stolen base. Parker then came up with a perfect base hit bunt down the first base line, which ended with Garabito scoring all the way from second base. Garabito never broke stride as the ball got away from the first baseman, and the catcher was slow to recover to the plate.
Garabito led the 11-hit Blazer attack with three hits and two RBIs. He added a walk and three stolen bases. Lanman collected two hits and reached base five times as he coaxed three bases on balls. Huffman, Pettit, Parker, Hunter Lindsey, Jacob Heck and Travis Hunt added hits. Hunt and Heck added two excellent catches in the outfield, robbing Bradford hitters of sure base hits in the third and sixth innings respectively.
“It seems like a broken record, but once again we had very good-to-excellent pitching performances. Logan Pettit threw seven innings of one earned run baseball against Bradford, but we left 14 guys on base. Logan deserved the win, but fortunately the team was able to pull out the win,” coach Parker said. “Angel Garabito had a nice game offensively against Bradford and he had a clutch RBI single versus Tri-Village. He is starting to come around at the plate. He had one of our two hits against Arcanum and he hit the ball hard (right at people) Monday versus South. Michael Bane ran his CCC record to 5-0 against Tri-Village. He gave up one earned run and walked three in 15 innings this week. We’ll take that all day long.”
Despite the fact that National Trail went 2-2 on the week, Blazer pitchers gave up four earned runs in 29 innings. Conversely they only scored five earned runs, according to coach Parker.
“We faced very good pitchers in three of the four games, and consequently our younger guys struggled a bit. I see us growing at the plate. Against Tri-Village, we had their starting pitcher up to 77 pitches through four innings, despite the fact we only had a run, and amazingly he had only walked one. Our younger and older guys battled at the plate and took him deep into the count, fouling off pitches and making him work,” the coach said. “Meanwhile, Michael got through the seven inning game with 68 pitches. He had 32 pitches through five innings. I think the difference in the game was our discipline at the plate. I was very proud of our approaches.”