IRONTON, Ohio — The Blue Devils have to be red-hot mad about this one.
That’s because the Gallia Academy High School baseball squad, once again, lost an Ohio Valley Conference clash by a mere single run.
On Monday, the opponent —or rather culprit — was the host Ironton Fighting Tigers, which scored the game’s only run in the opening inning, en route to edging the Blue Devils by a count of 1-0.
In the bottom of the first, and facing Gallia Academy ace pitcher Josh Faro, Ironton amounted the only marker when leadoff man Garrett Carrico crossed.
Carrico reached on a walk, followed by another walk to Brycen Thomas — and a single by Faro’s pitching counterpart Dane Wilson.
With the bases loaded and one out, Kyle Kleinman singled in Carrico for what proved to be the game’s only point.
Faro, from there, only allowed a Larry Morris leadoff walk in the second, a Wilson leadoff single in the third, and a one-out walk to Thomas in the fifth.
But Wilson was just as masterful, keeping the Blue Devils off the scoreboard and only allowing two hits despite issuing three walks.
Gallia Academy actually stranded four runners in scoring position —including John Stout at third in the sixth.
With the loss, the Blue Devils dipped to 3-3 in the OVC — as all three league losses have come by a single solitary run.
Two weeks ago, Gallia Academy lost to South Point 2-1 and to Fairland 5-4 — on back-to-back days at home.
The Blue and White are now 6-5 overall, as GAHS is the defending conference champion.
Ironton, on the other hand, improved to 7-2 — and to 4-1 in the OVC.
Faro, for his efforts, struck out nine Fighting Tigers in suffering the hard-luck complete-game pitching loss.
All three outs went for strikeouts in the opening inning, followed by facing four Tigers apiece in the second and third.
Faro fanned the side 1-2-3 in the fourth, followed by seeing the minimum in the fifth.
Thomas was caught stealing in the frame, as Faro finished his day by retiring the side 1-2-3 in the sixth.
Wilson, however, retired the opening seven Devils he faced — as all four of his strikeouts occurred in that span.
Faro walked with one out in the third, but was left stranded at second.
Garrett McGuire singled in the fourth, but was caught trying to steal.
In the fifth, Bailey Walker walked, but Wilson induced a 6-4 fielder’s choice on the next at-bat — sandwiched around a pair of flyouts.
Stout was hit by a pitch in the sixth, stole second, and advanced to third on a groundout to first base.
However, Wilson induced a McGuire out to end the inning.
Finally, in the seventh, Jeremy Brumfield singled and Kaden Thomas walked, but the Fighting Tigers turned a double play to end the game.
Wilson tossed 95 pitches and faced 25 batters, while Faro threw 98 pitches and saw 24 Fighting Tigers.
The Blue Devils will welcome Ironton on Thursday for the return match, but first travel to South Point for that rematch today (Wednesday, April 19).
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106