YELLOW SPRINGS — Previously winless Xenia Legacy Christian Academy grabbed the early lead in Tuesday’s April 4 high school baseball contest with host Yellow Springs, and they just got stronger as the game wore on, in a 14-1 Metro Buckeye Conference game at Gaunt Park.
The visiting Knights (1-3) scored a pair of runs, thanks to a throwing error and a balk call, to grab a first-inning lead, then LCA pitcher Austin Frueh took command of the mound the rest of the way.
Frueh limited the Bulldogs (1-2) to two hits — one by Chance Rouch in the first inning; another by Donnie Isenberger in the second — in a complete-game win. The lanky LCA senior struck out 13 Yellow Springs batters while giving up two walks.
“I struggled early on in trying to find the strike zone, but as I continued to pitch I think I got more and more comfortable,” Frueh said. “… My changeup wasn’t really working for me, so I mostly just threw fastballs.”
Whatever he was throwing, it was giving the Bulldogs fits.
“The kid was throwing some good, hard strikes,” Yellow Springs coach Brandon Bresler said of Frueh’s outing. “He made us have to make plays, and we just didn’t today. That’s the biggest thing: We swung at some bad pitches, and had some dumb plays at the beginning of the game, and that got ourselves emotionally out of it. … And the biggest thing was a lot of dumb errors. Without the errors we made early on, it’s a 1-1 ballgame and we’re right in it.”
Bresler said letting a ball roll foul down the third-base line probably cost the Bulldogs a couple of LCA runs. He said misplaying a grounder up the middle may have led to two more Knights scores in the second.
Instead, LCA went out in front 4-0 before Yellow Springs’ Travis Scarfpin walked, advanced on a wild pitch then scored on Rouch’s single to center, for what turned out to be the Bulldogs’ only run of the contest.
Legacy tacked on four more runs in the sixth inning, then added six more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Yellow Springs hit two Knights batters, walked two others and committed three errors in the game’s final two innings of play.
LCA’s David Kensinger went 4-for-4 at the plate, scored three runs and drove in three others. Eric Uszynski reached base on a single, twice on errors and he was hit by a pitch, scoring four times. And A.J. Warner and Ashton Burke each drove in two Knights runs.
“This was a really solid outing for our team today. And Austin pitched another terrific game,” said LCA coach Scott Pickens. “He throws like a freight train. … We got some good early runs, and then added some big runs on at the end. It was a good win, I wish they’d all go that way.”
Frueh entered the game with nine strikeouts. With his 13 in Tuesday’s win, he’s likely the Metro Buckeye Conference’s leader in K’s with 22. Previous leader, Aakeem Truss, of Yellow Springs, did not pitch on Tuesday. He has 16 so far this season. Dylan Rainey pitched for the Bulldogs and scattered nine hits in six innings of work, while striking out six.
“I’d like to congratulate my little brother, Josh, for hitting two doubles today and scoring twice,” the elder Frueh said,
And my catcher, Ashton (Burke) had a great game as well. …. We started out the season with a lot of defensive mistakes, and it cost us some wins. But I think we’re finally starting to gel together as team now.”
The two teams will face each other again on Thursday, April 6, when the Knights will host Yellow Springs for a 6 p.m. contest on Grady’s Field, at the Athletes In Action Sports Complex in Xenia.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.