JAMESTOWN — One side likes to get outside of league competition every so often, and the other likes to step up against higher division opponents.
Both got their wish on Wednesday when Bellbrook visited Greeneview in baseball non-conference action.
Despite the 21-5 final score in favor of the Golden Eagles, there were happy thoughts all-around about the contest.
“I think it’s always good to jump out a league whenever you can,” Bellbrook head coach Jon Venters said. “When you’re in the grind of league game after league game, a hard part with the high school season it’s as we say it’s a sprint. It really is.”
And John Marc Brooks, head of Greeneview’s team, had hoped to get some more of his best to match up with Bellbrook, but wasn’t able to make it a reality.
“I particularly want us to play better competition, Division I schools as much as possible,” Brooks said. “This scenario here, we have a very tight league schedule just because all the rain outs, so I couldn’t offer really any of my better pitching for these guys just because I’ve got so many other games stacked on top of them, but offensively this is a good opportunity for us to learn what better teams hit like.”
Benton Yoxtheimer had a monster game for Bellbrook. The junior went 5 for 5 with a double, driving in four runs and scoring three times.
Bennett LaPalm and Blake Oberding also went perfect at the plate with 3 for 3 games. Brayden Hubbell had three doubles and four RBI.
Both offenses had hot starts, scoring three times in the first inning. Bellbrook went small ball with five hits in its initial six at-bats. Greeneview’s Jarrod Mays put his strength on display with a two-run home run, his fourth of the season, and was followed by a Landon Gardner double which led to a tie score.
Bellbrook flexed its depth in the second by getting the first 13 hitters to reach base, going on to score 14 times in the inning.
“They have to know that good teams are gonna put the ball in play,” Brooks said. “And so every out chance you have, you need to take have you possibly can get. And I think too, they don’t see teams with depth hit the ball that often, and maybe that hard, back to back to back so it’s good for them to realize that can happen.”
Michael Campbell was solid in relief for the Rams, throwing two innings while allowing one hit, one run, one walk and produced a strikeout.
Mays went 2 for 3 and had three RBI, including a late sacrifice fly.
Ben Bayer started and pitched the bulk of the innings for Bellbrook. He struck out two in four frames, allowing all three Rams’ hits.
Bellbrook and Greeneview are in contention for their respective league titles. The Golden Eagles are 7-2 in the SWBL and have a 2.5 game lead in the East Division. The Rams sit 6-2 in the OHC South, just a half game back of two league opponents in a tight race.
Brooks said the game experience from playing a bigger school will be positive for his players as they head back into the league race.
“I think the biggest thing for us is controlling the errors and making sure errors are at a minimum,” he said. “And making sure that our pitching is healthy. Had a lot of guys who don’t normally get opportunities to play got a chance to play today.”
And on the other side, Venters spoke about wanted to see his players be ready for action at any time they might be needed. He said he saw good swings and hard play from his team, which was pleasing.
“I think there’s a lot of good, a lot of positives to take out of this,” Venters said. “This is a time of year that we want to keep getting better as we’re getting close to the tournament.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.