Bengals top Nation Ford, shut out Clover

BLYTHEWOOD – Timely hitting still eludes the Blythewood baseball team, yet on Monday night the time was right for Harrison Collins, who batted eighth in the order.

With his team clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Collins connected for a 2-out, 2-run home run over the left centerfield fence to lift the Bengals to a 3-0 victory over Clover Monday night.

“The top of the lineup has guys that had a lot of at-bats last year, but now we’ve got guys getting at-bats and getting more comfortable.” Blythewood head coach Dollan Crolley said. “It’s starting to show. We’re getting more barrels on baseballs. Some of them arent’ falling, but we’re going to keep swinging it.”

Collins’ homer was the second 2-out hitting scenario of the game.

Blue Eagles starting pitcher River Joye had two hitless innings before missing the strike zone in the bottom of the third. Collins grounded out and Xavier Cuevas struck out to start the inning for Blythewood (8-4, 5-2 Region 3-5A). Joye then walked Landon Penfield and Alex Myers. Camden Watts lashed out a single to shallow leftfield to enable Penfield’s courtesy runner, Ryan Watts, to score from second base.

Just as quickly as that opportunity to score arose, Blythewood watched it disappear.

Carson Weathers drew a walk to load the bases, but John Rollings flied out to rightfield to end the inning. 

“The talent has been here, it’s just that a lot of these guys haven’t had a lot of at bats last year,” Crolley said. “We had like six guys coming in this season with 30 at-bats total, and the talk of the entire preseason has been keep working, keep working, we’ll get the at-bats and we’ll start figuring things out.”
Joye stayed on the mound for two more scoreless innings, but in the sixth inning Macon Leppert reached second base on a one-out error. Leppert was forced out at third on Luke Duncan’s fielder’s choice, but with Duncan on first, Collins nailed Joye’s first pitch and sent it past the left side of the batter’s eye in centerfield.

Joye, who took the loss, worked 5 2/3 innings before making way for Dalton Hammonds. Hammonds finished the sixth inning.

Landon Penfield pitched five full innings for the Bengals to pick up the win. He gave up Clover’s only two hits of the game, struck out four and walked one. Ben Blackwell came on in relief to start the sixth, struck out two and walked one.

Blackwell got into a little bit of trouble to start the seventh, walking Cooper Zohner and having Hunter Busque reach base safely on a fielder’s choice.

With two on and nobody out, Blackwell and the Bengals’ defense stiffened. Nico Bartolotti flied out to right, Blackwell struck out Preston Satter, and Kandan Zollo grounded out to end the game.

“We’re slowly starting to piece things together and find it on the mound as well as offensively,” Crolley said. “We always talk about finishing it when you have a chance, but that’s baseball, if guys get on base you just have to trust your defense and your pitcher to continue to do what he’s supposed to do.”

Last week Blythewood wrapped up its series with Nation Ford with a 13-3 win in five innings Wednesday and a 12-1 win in six innings Friday.

The Bengals traveled to Clover Wednesday and play host to the Blue Eagles gain Friday. They open a 3-game series with Spring Valley at home Monday.

BHS 13, Nation Ford 3

Nation Ford – 0-0-0-3-0 – 3, 6, 3

Blythewood – 3-6-4-0-X – 13, 9, 0

W: Harrison Collins.

B: Macon Leppert 3-4, HR, 2 RBI. Carson Weathers 2-4. Luke Duncan 2-4, 2B, RBI. Xavier Cuevas 2-2, RBI. Harrison Collins HR, RBI. Landon Penfield 2B. Camden Watts 2B, RBI. Alex Myers RBI.

BHS 12, Nation Ford 1

Blythewood – 3-1-4-1-1-2  – 12, 14, 1

Nation Ford – 0-0-1-0-0-0  – 1, 2, 1

W: Xavier Cuevas.

B: Carson Weathers 2-4, 2B, 3B, RBI. Landon Penfield 2B, RBI. Luke Duncan HR, RBI. Camden Watts RBI.

BHS 3, Clover 0

Clover – 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 – 0, 2, 1

Blythewood – 0-0-1-0-0-2-X – 3, 5, 1

W: Landon Penfield. L: River Joye

B: Harrison Collins 2-3, HR, 2 RBI. Camden Watts RBI.

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