JACKSON, Ohio — All’s well that ends well.
The Gallia Academy baseball team built a 2-0 lead through three innings, then ultimately worked itself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh on Saturday during a thrilling 2-1 victory over host Jackson in a non-conference matchup at Sparky Haller Field in the Apple City.
The visiting Blue Devils (3-0) used a single, three walks, an error and a fielder’s choice to establish a two-run cushion midway through the third, and that lead held up headed into the home half of the seventh.
Reece Graham led off the Ironmen’s final inning at the plate with a walk, then Ethan Mercer received a one-out walk. Caden Donaldson followed with a 1-3 groundout that advanced Graham and Mercer to third and second, then Brice Graham was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases.
GAHS went to the bullpen and brought in Cole Davis, but the senior reliever issued a walk to Caleb Haller that forced in Reece Graham for a 2-1 contest.
With three-hole hitter Ty Broermann coming to the plate, Davis got Broermann to fly out to right field with a full count. Justin McClelland squeezed the final out in his glove, allowing the Blue and White to sneak away with the narrow one-run outcome.
After two scoreless frames, Morgan Stanley started the third with a leadoff walk and was issued a courtesy runner in Adam Stout. Stout advanced to second on a McClelland groundout and moved to third on a single by Brendan Carter, putting runners on the corners.
David reached safely on an infield error that allowed Stout to score for a 1-0 edge, then Davis came around to score on a fielder’s choice that allowed Andrew Toler to reach safely.
The Blue Devils left the bases loaded at the end of the third, plus stranded a runner in both the fourth and fifth frames before leaving a pair at second and third in the top half of the sixth.
The Red and White, conversely, stranded at least one runner on base in the second, third, fifth and sixth frames — then left the bags full at the end of seventh.
GAHS outhit the hosts by a 4-2 overall margin and also benefited from two Jackson errors — the only miscues of the contest. JHS stranded eight runners on base while the guests left seven on the bags.
Toler was the winning pitcher of record after allowing one earned run, two hits and seven walks over 6.2 innings while striking out eight. Mercer took the loss after surrendering two earned runs, two hits and six walks over five frames while fanning five.
Toler, Carter, Wyatt Sipple and Cade Roberts had a hit apiece for the Blue Devils, with Davis and Toler each accounting for a run batted in.
Broermann and Mercer had the lone safeties for the Ironmen during the setback.
Gallia Academy opened Ohio Valley Conference play Monday when it traveled to Ironton and returns to action Wednesday when it hosts South Point at 5 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.