Blythewood scored a key 7-3 Region 4-4A baseball win Tuesday over visiting Richland Northeast behind the solid pitching of of senior left-hander Drew Ellis and a balanced offensive attack.
The decision keeps the Bengals (8-4, 3-1) very much in the running for a fourth straight 4-4A pennant.
On the other hand, RNE (6-6, 3-2) drops out of the first-place picture for now and is still trying to find a way to solve the Bengals. The Cavaliers have never beaten Blythewood and former coach Barry Mizzell, who left to take over the new Bengal program in 2006.
Ellis scattered four hits, struck our seven and overcame some wildness (three walks, one HBP) to emerge with a complete game victory. The southpaw finished strong after serving up a two-run triple to RNE’s Nick Gelting that cut the Bengal led to 5-3 in the top of the fifth inning.
The Blythewood attack produced 13 hits against three Cavalier pitchers – with at least one hit coming from every spot in the batting order and RBIs produced by six different batters. Tyler Romanik, Andrew Crook and Jacob Davis all had two hits, but DH Aaron Dahm was the main man - reaching base without a hit in the second and third innings (scoring both times) before delivering a clinching two-out, two-run single in the sixth.
“Our kids hung in there and played hard,” said Mizzell. “Drew’s been sick but he battled and got the outs he had to get, and I though our situation hitting was good tonight. We’re getting better.”
It’s been a bit of a rough go for Mizzell’s new-look team that features seven new faces in the starting lineup.
“We started out with so many new starters and we were grasping for pitching,” said Mizzell. “In 12 games we’ve had eight or nine different lineups. We just haven’t been able to develop he kind of continuity we’re used to so far. But now that the weather is getting better and the kids are getting healthier, we have a chance to play a lot of games over the next few weeks. You only get better by playing, so we’ll get the chance to really see what we’ve got.”
The other Cavalier highlight was a perfect squeeze bunt on an 0-2 pitch by Ryne Maness in the second inning that tied the score at 1-1.