CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — By leaving the Blue Lions like ducks on a pond, the Blue Devils left the opening weekend with a win.
That’s because Gallia Academy, in stranding 14 Washington Court House baserunners, escaped the nightcap of the First National Bank Baseball Classic on Saturday night with a 4-3 non-league victory.
The Blue Devils defeated the Blue Lions in the finale of the annual event inside VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
The contest marked both clubs’ season opener, as part of the opening day of baseball around the state of Ohio.
Despite being outhit 10-3, and committing a pair of errors compared to none for Washington Court House, the Blue Devils did escape several defensive jams.
The most important escape came in the bottom of the seventh inning —when Washington Court House left the bases loaded.
Brody Thomas, who pitched the final two and two-thirds innings for Gallia Academy, gained the save by not allowing a run.
He allowed two hits and three walks, including an intentional pass to load the bases with two outs in the seventh, but recorded his third and final strikeout to end the game.
The Blue Lions left two runners aboard in the first, second, third and sixth stanzas —including on the corners in the opening two innings.
Washington Court House stranded runners at first and second in the third and sixth, sandwiched around scoring its three runs and leaving another runner at second in the fourth.
Thomas took over for starter Jeremy Brumfield, who went the first four and two-thirds innings and allowed eight hits and three walks.
Brumfield struck out three, as all three of the Blue Lions’ fourth-inning runs were earned on four hits.
He threw 90 total pitches, compared to 57 for Thomas.
The Blue Devils did not have a hit beyond the second inning, as Washington Court House made a pitching change to Barrett.
The only baserunners he allowed were walks to John Stout in the third, Braden Simms in the fifth and Tanner Allen in the seventh.
With the score tied 3-3, Simms scored the go-ahead — and ultimately game-winning — run, when he walked, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on an RBI-groundout by Stout.
Stout singled in Allen in the Blue Devils’ initial at-bat — as Allen was hit by a pitch, sacrificed to second by Simms, and tagged to third on a flyout by Brumfield.
Another leadoff hit batsmen led to Gallia Academy’s other two runs in the second to make it 3-0.
Adam Sickels was hit this time, as Cole Davis delivered the sacrifice bunt before Dylan Smith singled.
Thomas then doubled to score Sickels and Smith, as Allen also walked in the inning.
The Blue Devils, which traveled to play at archrival River Valley on Monday, venture across the Ohio River to Point Pleasant today (Tuesday, March 28).
First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106