XENIA — It might be team chemistry, or maybe it’s ornery bravado.
Whatever it is that has this fun bunch of Xenia High School kids playing really well right now, coach Barry Claus will take it.
Each Buccaneer in the batting order reached base at least once, there were no errors made out in the field, and starting pitcher Ryan Day limited visiting Sidney to one hit in a convincing 11-1 run-ruled Xenia win in five innings.
From doing their own brand of play-by-play while shooting game film, to teasing another teammate about missing a signal and bunting, the Bucs are a slick fielding, loose hitting and tough pitching bunch right now. Sidney coach Thomas Goffena was quick to agree.
“They just had a good game plan. They hit the ball well. They made all the routine plays that they needed to make, and that’s exactly what we did not do,” Goffena said. “They came out to play, we didn’t. We didn’t have a good approach at the plate, and we made a few errors (three), and we just didn’t make the routine plays. That’s gonna beat you every day.”
Day held the Yellow Jackets (1-6) without a hit until the fourth. Well, sorta.
Sidney’s No. 3 batter, Cole Hofmann reached first base on both his trips to the plate, but it was because Day hit him. Hofmann might be sore on his left side today, but at least he got a run for his efforts. Caleb Harris moved Hofmann to third, then Conor Beer scored Hofmann with the lone Sidney run on a groundout.
Day kept the Jackets off-balance with a wicked off-speed pitch that left Sidney’s batters flailing early.
“We’ve got really good team chemistry with this bunch,” Claus said. “We don’t have those kids who are going to blow people away. We have to pitch to contact, and we’ve gotta make plays. And, other than hitting a kid a couple times, that’s exactly what Ryan did.
“Wade (Ferrence) dropping bunts down the third-base line, Logan Bilbrey swung the bat well tonight … I think the only error in the game for us was coach Claus sending the smallest kid on the team home, when I thought I was going to out-fox ‘em,” Claus laughed.
Bilbrey singled, doubled, reached on a fielder’s choice and scored two runs while knocking in two others. T.J. Oliver hit two doubles, reached on a fielder’s choice play, scored twice and drove in three runs. Robert DeLong singled, doubled, walked, scored once and drove in a run. And even the team’s lone varsity freshman got into the act: Kyle Lane had a bunt single, reached on a walk, reached on a Sidney error and scored twice.
Evan Adkins, Day, Sam Lockwood and Jared Robinson also reached base during the five-inning contest, with Day, Lockwood and Robinson each scoring a run, and Robinson also driving in a run.
The Bucs sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning, whapped six hits and scored seven runs to take command of the game early, with what was then an 8-0 lead.
“And the kids didn’t make an error which, in high school baseball, if you don’t make an error you’ve got a good chance to win,” Claus said.
Xenia (4-2) has a make-up game scheduled for 1 p.m. today, Saturday April 8 at home against Lewisburg Tri-County North.
Sidney heads to Celina on Saturday for a 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. doubleheader.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.