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Blythewood Dutch Fork 6-1 Game Two To Even AAAAA Baseball Series At One Win Each. Deciding Third Game Will Take Place friday Night At Columbia Fireflies Segra Park At 7 P.M.

Blythewood Dutch Fork 6-1 Game Two To Even AAAAA Baseball Series At One Win Each. Deciding Third Game Will Take Place friday Night At Columbia Fireflies Segra Park At 7 P.M.   

By WORTHY EVANS

IRMO – From the first pitch, almost nothing went well for Blythewood Tuesday night at Dutch Fork as the Silver Foxes took a 6-1 win to even the AAAAA best of three series at one game each.

Blythewood (25-9) and Dutch Fork (23-10) square off at the Columbia Fireflies’ Segra Park at 7 p.m. Friday for the AAAAA championship.

Things went bad for the Bengals from the very start of the game. Bengals ace left-hander John Lanier hit a batter on the first pitch of the game, then hit another batter, as the Silver Foxes uncorked a 4-run first inning.

With the Silver Foxes holding an early lead, Ty Olenchuk took the mound and five-hit the Bengals to ensure a deciding game of the best-of-three championship series.

“I’m super proud of them, I was proud of them before that, all the runs we’ve made,” Dutch Fork head coach Casey Waites said. “This is what we expected.”

 “We’re not there yet,” Waites said. “Someone is going to win, and somebody is going to lose Friday. But I just knew these guys would show up today and play, that’s what they do. My motto right now is keep playing, keep playing, we’ll see what happens.”

Getting to Lanier early enabled the Silver Foxes to keep playing.

Lanier, who came into the game with an earned-run average well below 1.00 for the year, had two men on base after just five pitches. Brian Helms singled to load the bases with nobody out.

Things got much worse for Lanier on one pitch to Noah Jackson.

Jackson’s single into the left centerfield gap drove in the hit batters, Hugh Ryan and Jay Kirkland, the courtesy runner for Ty Olenchuk.

With the Silver Foxes up 2-0 with one out, Lance Fuhr drove in Helms and Jackson with a double to the wall in right center to make it 4-0 Silver Foxes.

Seeing his team score in a bases-loaded first inning was a good feeling for Waites, whose team created a similar situation at Blythewood Saturday, but the Bengals got out of the jam with no score. The Silver Foxes ended up dropping that game 2-1 in nine innings.

“That was super big,” Waites said about the first-inning surge Tuesday night. “We didn’t score runs last time, we loaded the bases with no outs, and you don’t want that to happen again. That was super big to jump out early and let them know that we can hit the ball a little bit.”

Lanier recovered enough to strike out Price Alexander and get Jalen McDuffie to line out, but he never settled in.

After Blythewood got a run on Harrsion Lambert’s 2-out single in the top of the second inning, the Bengals starter gave up a run on two hits in the bottom of that frame. He made way for freshman reliever Kevin Steelman after facing three batters in the third and loading the bases.

Steelman put out the fire in the third. Jay Metts scored Crosby Jones on a one-out sacrifice fly, but Steelman got Olenchuk to ground out and get Blythewood out of another potential disaster.

Steelman pitched three full innings and made way for Alex Canino to start the sixth inning. Canino gave up Dutch Fork’s only hit after the Silver Foxes pounded Lanier, but the Blythewood offense never came around.

Olenchuk, the left-hander who as quarterback had led the Silver Foxes to their third straight state football title last fall, easily moved past Blythewood batters. He got the Bengals to fly out 12 times, scattered five hits, struck out seven, and walked two. 

“That’s Ty being Ty,” Waites said. “We’ve got a couple of other guys we think can pitch too, we like Doug (Webb) and we’ve got another couple of relievers for Game 3, but that’s a typical Ty performance, he always likes the big stage no matter what he does.”

Olenchuk himself doesn’t duck from his eagerness to be in clutch moments.

“I’ve been in big time situations winning in football three years in a row, and every big game in the playoffs and you start to get used to it,” Olenchuk said. “All of our confidence helped us out. It’s a comfort level. Some guys have never been here (to a state title game) and they can get shook. But having that big game experience is just incredible to have under my belt.”

Blythewood hurt after the loss, but head coach Banks Faulkner, in his third year with the program, said he’s confident that this particular bunch of Bengals will be ready to play Friday.

“We’ve got to come out and do what we do,” Faulkner said. “Momentum starts on the mound and we ‘ve got all our pitchers available. We’ll throw the kitchen sink at ’em and we’ll be ready to go. This team has incredible leadership. They’ve gone through adversity and bounced back like champs. I’ve got no doubt they’ll do that Friday night.”

 

Dutch Fork 6, Blythewood 1

Blythewood           010      000      000      -           1 5 2

Dutch Fork           411      000      000      -           6 9 0

WP: Ty Olenchuk LP: John Lanier

Hitters: Blythewood – Brady Beasley 2-3. Dutch Fork – Brian Helms 2-3, 2B. Lance Fuhr 2-3, 2B.


© 2017 High School Sports Report

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