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Bellmont could manage just three hits off South Adams pitching in a non-conference Senior Night game at Bellmont Tuesday night but all were doubles in the fifth inning and two were two-run shots to give the Braves a 7-3 triumph over the Starfires.
Will Busse and Brian Hakes both drilled long two-run two-baggers to right centerfield to drive in four of the five Bellmont runs and relievers Matt Chronister and Brandon Voglewede shut the Stars down on just one hit and one walk over their final four at bats.
With South Adams leading 3-2 going into the Bellmont half of the fifth, Landon Baker picked up the first hit of the game on the first pitch offered to him by SA reliever Nick Batt. Baker laced a double down the right field line and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gunnar Cale.
One of several misplays South Adams had in the game then occurred when Ben Baker hit a slow roller to third. The Stars attempted to get Landon Baker out at home but he beat the throw putting Ben on first on a fielder's choice.
Had the Starfires gone to first for the second out of the inning they would have been out of the inning as Batt induced Matt Stidam to ground out to second. Chronister, who has played JV ball most of the season, battled back to walk after having a 1-2 count (one of the pitches bounced off the plate and struck SA catcher Taylor LeFever in the throat and he was unable to continue to play). With runners on the corner for the Braves, Will Busse delivered the second Bellmont double of the inning for a 5-3 Bellmont lead. Nick Fuelling solved Batt for another walk (SA hurlers allowed nine free passes in the game) and Hakes added insurance tallies with his two-RBI shot over the center fielder's head.
"The fielder's choice in the fifth inning just made it a whole different game. We outhit them but when we needed to make the big play, we just didn't do it," lamented South Adams coach Brad Buckingham, whose team slipped to 17-10 with the setback.
"Too many walks and that one big inning just cost us tonight," he said.
Although happy with the win that increased his team's record to 13-10, Bellmont coach Ben Fawbush again wasn't happy with the way the Braves stranded numerous runners on base.
"We've done way too much of that lately, leaving runners on base. At the start of the year we were hitting everything and then sort of ran into that brick wall. Now we're hitting again but just leaving a lot of runners on base," he said.
The Braves went hitless and scoreless in the first three innings off SA starter Alex Augsburger and reliever Batt but stranded seven runners on base, including having the bases loaded in the second and third. For the game, Bellmont had 10 runners left on the sacks while South Adams had just one.
South Adams scored initially in the second off senior starter Joe Baker as Corey Seffernick opened with a double and was sacrificed to third (one of five sacrifices in the game for the Stars) by Blake Fox. Marcus Rich singled Seffernick home but later in the inning was erased as Ben Baker threw him out trying to steal second.
South Adams grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fourth as Gabe Sprunger singled and LeFever smashed a long double to center field. Seffernick hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Sprunger and Fox's sacrifice bunt brought LeFever home for the advantage.
Chronister picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief ball while Voglewede got the save. Batt suffered the loss for South Adams. Bellmont ended the game turning a 4-6-3 double play.