CENTENARY, Ohio — It wasn’t a pitchers’ duel this time, but at least Gallia Academy exacted a measure of revenge against Ironton.
That’s because the Blue Devils, despite allowing the visiting Fighting Tigers to get too close for comfort at times on Thursday, did capture an important 12-7 Ohio Valley Conference baseball victory at Gallia Academy High School’s Robert Eastman BallField.
On Monday, in a classic pitchers’ duel, the Fighting Tigers tallied a first-inning run — and went on to win by a 1-0 count.
On Thursday, the Blue Devils erupted for a half-dozen markers in the opening inning —then scored single runs in the second, third and sixth stanzas, sandwiched around a three-run fifth frame.
Ironton, after a run in its initial at-bat, fell behind 7-1 — before scoring three times in the third and twice in the fourth for deficits of 7-4 and 8-6.
But by the Blue Devils answering with their three-run fifth, and darkness descending upon Gallia Academy High School, GAHS went up 11-6 — before exchanging single tallies with the Tigers in the sixth.
The contest was called at exactly 8 p.m. —due to darkness and with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Because the game had gone past the fifth frame, it was deemed complete — and crucial to the Blue Devils’ chances of defending their OVC championship.
With the win, and season split of Ironton, Gallia Academy won its second consecutive tilt to raise its record to 8-5.
The Blue Devils are 5-3 in the OVC — with all three defeats coming by one run apiece.
The loss dropped the Fighting Tigers to 9-3 —and gave them a second conference setback to put them at 6-2.
On Thursday, the Blue Devils didn’t trail again after the fast start — which featured six runs on five hits and three walks in the opening inning.
Gallia Academy sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame — against Ironton starting pitcher Garrett Carrico.
John Stout, who finished with three runs batted in, had a two-run single to make it 6-1.
In all, the Blue Devils tagged four Ironton pitchers for a dozen earned runs on 10 hits.
“It’s easy to play when you play from ahead and not behind. The last game down there was a pitchers’ duel between Josh Faro (of Gallia Academy) and the (Dane) Wilson kid for them (Fighting Tigers). They had three hits and we had two. That was obviously different tonight, because we finally got the bats going. We had a little bit of offense other than our short game,” said GAHS coach Rich Corvin.
Stout, Garrett McGuire and Tanner Allen amounted two hits apiece, while Cole Davis, Brody Thomas, Jeremy Brumfield and Bailey Walker wound up with singles.
McGuire made it 7-1 when he doubled to lead off the second, stole second, advanced to third on a Thomas sacrifice bunt and scored on a wild pitch.
In the third, the Blue Devils doubled up the Fighting Tigers at 8-4 — when Bailey Walker walked to lead off, went to second on a wild pitch, advanced on Braden Simms’ sacrifice bunt, and scored on Stout’s second single.
Seven different Devils collected one RBI apiece.
Walker started and Thomas finished for Gallia Academy on the mound, as both men allowed seven hits in their three innings of work.
Walker allowed five runs with three walks and four strikeouts, while Thomas gave up two runs and no walks while striking out three.
“Bailey Walker, a sophomore, two out of his three outings pitching for us have been pretty good. Then Brody Thomas did a nice job on back-to-back nights just pounding the strike zone and keeping us in games,” said Corvin. “Then our defense has stepped up over the last week-and-a-half. It’s really impressed us.”
Both clubs committed only one error.
Ironton — despite three players with three hits apiece including Kyle Kleinman and Gage Salyers with a pair of doubles — also stranded 10 baserunners, including the bases loaded in the third when the Fighting Tigers trailed 7-4.
Salyers was left at second in the first, before Walker — with no outs — eventually left Tigers on the corners in the second.
Kleinman’s two-run double in the fourth trimmed the deficit to 8-6, but he and Ethan Duncan — who singled three times —were stranded at second and third in both the fourth and sixth innings.
The Blue Devils return to action on Monday and Tuesday — with OVC matchups against Coal Grove.
Gallia Academy is home against the Hornets on Monday, before traveling Tuesday to Coal Grove for a makeup tilt.
Corvin said it is not too late for his charges to charge back to the front of the league race.
“We’ve had three losses in the league by a run, but we’re seeing some good things. Just have to keep going because there is a lot of baseball left,” he said.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106