McARTHUR, Ohio — The third time was the charm, even though it came in the fourth.
After stranding runners at second and third in the second and third frames, the Gallia Academy baseball team broke through with two runs with two away in the fourth and ultimately rolled to a 5-1 victory over host Vinton County in a non-conference matchup Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils (10-10) surrendered only three baserunners over the first three innings and held the Vikings hitless until the bottom of the fourth, but the guests left multiple scoring opportunities on the bags over that same span.
After a 1-2-3 first for both clubs, an error and a single put Bo Saxon and Matt Moreaux at first and second with only away in the second. Both runners advanced on a pop out to center, but the inning ended with a strikeout as pair were left in scoring position.
Trent Johnson singled and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice that put Josh Faro on the other corner with two away, but another strikeout ended another threat as the game remained scoreless.
The Blue and White, however, broke through in the top of the fourth as Saxon scored from second on a two-out single Andrew Toler, giving the guests a permanent lead of 1-0.
Dakota Young and Trent Johnson followed with back-to-back singles that pushed Toler to third while loading the bases, then Toler came around to score on an error that put Braden Simms safely aboard.
Despite leaving the bases loaded in the fourth, the Blue Devils still possessed a 2-0 advantage midway through the frame. GAHS also increased its lead to 3-0 in the fifth as Cade Roberts scored on a Cole Davis ground out to second.
The Vikings lone run came in the bottom of the fifth as Radabaugh scored on a two-out passed ball, cutting the deficit down to 3-1. VCHS ultimately stranded two runners on base in that frame and didn’t have another baserunner reach second the rest of the way.
The Blue Devils added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth as Faro singled home Dakota Young, then Simms came in on a one-out balk that increased the lead out to its final margin. GAHS also stranded a pair on base in the sixth and left them loaded in the seventh.
Gallia Academy outhit the hosts by a sizable 9-3 overall margin and also committed only one of the four errors in the contest. The guests stranded 13 runners on base, while the Vikings left seven on the bags.
Andrew Toler was the winning pitcher of record after allowing an unearned run, two hits and six walks over 5⅓ innings while striking out nine. Norris took the loss after surrendering three runs (two earned), six hits and one walk over five frames while fanning four.
Johnson led GAHS with two hits, with Simms, Faro, Stanley, Toler, Young and Garrett McGuire also providing a safety apiece. Simms, Faro, Davis and Toler each drove in a run as well.
Grigsby had two of the hosts’ three hits, while Betts added the other safety.
Gallia Academy completed OVC play on Thursday as it traveled to Portsmouth for a 5 p.m. contest.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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