Bengals Take Over Region’s Top Spot

Justin Greider (8) is tagged at the plate for the second out in the bottom of the third Tuesday. (Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD – Having missed some practice because of sickness, Blythewood right-hander Drew Ellis may not have been 100 percent going into this week of Region 4-4A baseball foes.

Based on his performance against Richland Northeast Tuesday night at Bengals field, no one likely noticed.

Ellis had enough to three-hit the Cavaliers in a 7-3 victory as Blythewood took over first place in the region.

“He didn’t come to practice yesterday,” Blythewood head coach Barry Mizzell said of his starter. “He’d been sick, a little under the weather, but he makes big pitches when he has to. He didn’t throw great, but he pitched well.”

Ellis struck out seven and walked two in a complete-game win. Meanwhile, the Bengals (8-4 overall, 3-1 region) banged out 12 hits, half of which were infield singles.

The Cavaliers (6-6, 3-2) gave Ellis trouble with a run in the third inning and two more runs off Nick Gelting’s triple in the fifth, but Ellis and the Blythewood defense kept the door closed on Richland Northeast for much of the game.

“Our kids hung in there and played hard,” Mizzell said. “We’ve had some injuries and some sickness going through our team, but we battled through it.”

Blythewood got off to a 1-0 lead when Aaron Dahm scored on Jacob Davis’ 1-out sacrifice fly to right in the second inning. Richland Northeast got that run back in the third when Harrison Mercer scored on Ryne Maness’ sacrifice bunt with one out. Later, with Gelting and Henry Taylor on base, Jake Mueller hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The Bengals took advantage of several infield miscues in the bottom of the third, sending nine batters to the plate for three runs on five hits. Tyler Romanik and Andrew Cook opened up the inning with back-to-back singles. After Connor Grant’s infield grounder put Cook out on a fielder’s choice for the first out, Romanik stayed safe at third after he busted a 5-2-5 pickoff attempt on Dahm’s infield bouncer.

That miscue had Romanik at third, Grant at second and Dahm at first to load the bases. Romanik then scored the go-ahead run on Ellis’ infield single.

Grant then scored on Walt Ballentine’s bunt single, and Ryan Malone singled Dahm home to make it 4-1 Bengals.

Justin Greider, pinch running for Ellis, was tagged out at the plate on that play for the second out. After Jacob Davis singled, Dwight Stokes struck out to retire the side.

Blythewood added another run in the fourth to make it 5-1.

“I thought we had some good at-bats,” Mizzell said. “We put a little pressure on them defensively and they made some mistakes that got them rattled a little bit.”

Gelting’s fifth-inning triple for the Cavaliers cut that lead to 5-3, but the Bengals added two more runs in the sixth, thanks to Dahm’s 2-out, 2-run double.

“We played good situational baseball tonight,” Mizzell said of his team’s short game in the early innings. “Ballentine’s a good bunter and he laid down two good ones for us. We did a hit-and-run that worked really good. We had a really good team win.”

Romanik, Cook, Ballentine and Davis each had two hits for the Bengals.

RNE 001 020 0 – 3 12 1

BHS 013 102 x – 7 3 2

R : Maness (L), Cooper (4), Mueller (6) and Glover. B: Ellis (W) and Cook. 2B: Dahm (B). 3B: Gelting (R).

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