He gathered the players along the first-base line and said: “Guys, we left too many runners on base but we’re getting them on base, that’s the thing.’’
Ritz talked about preparations for D-B’s trip to Oak Ridge today to play in the Kevin Calia Classic, making sure everybody had a to-do list.
Dylan Harvey, a 6-foot-3, 210- pound senior right-hander, fired a two-hit shutout as the Indians (10-5, 4-4) posted their fourth straight win. Harvey, who pitched very little last year, dropped his earned run average to 2.50 by striking out nine batters and walking only two.
“It’s the best I’ve done at keeping the ball around the knees,’’ Harvey said. “I made the mistake of leaving a couple of pitches up high.
“I was able to throw all four of my pitches for strikes and that always gives a pitcher confidence.’’
Harvey (4-2) retired the first 10 batters in order before losing his bid for a perfect game on a walk to Carl Roberts. Hunter Rosenbaum singled a bit later, but Harvey worked out of the situation.
In the sixth inning, Central got two more baserunners. Tyler Walling walked and Roberts singled. Again, Harvey bore down to keep the Central off the scoreboard.
He needed just 95 pitches to dispatch the Cougars and nail down his third complete game.
“When Dylan is on with his off-speed pitches, that makes him better with his fastball,’’ Ritz said. “He pitched a great game and could have had a no-hitter.’’
In spite of his effectiveness, the game’s outcome was hanging in the balance until the fifth inning when Justin Trent and Gabe Overcast hit back-to-back homers to expand a 1-0 lead to 5-0.
After Jake Bellamy and Jamie Crawford drew walks, Trent blasted a Cody Hyden pitch 345 feet to left field.
“The count was 3-2 and I was looking for anything. They’d been pitching breaking stuff to me,’’ Trent said. “I just put the barrel of the bat on the ball like we do in practice.’’
D-B had to rally frantically to beat the Cougars in their first meeting.
“Everybody in our league is so good,’’ Trent said. “We have to do everything we can to win a game.’’
Overcast hit an inside-the-park homer.
Walling crashed into the left-field wall trying to get to the fly ball and was on the ground several minutes. He stayed in the game and turned in two super running catches after that.
The hard-luck Cougars (7-7, 1-6) are having difficulty righting their ship.
“We’ve been in most of our games,’’ Central coach Brandon Krantz said. “The last time we met D-B we were up 6-2 in the seventh and lost 7-6. We got beat by David Crockett 9-7 and we lost 2-1 to a team in the championship game at Myrtle Beach.
“But that’s just baseball. I’m a firm believer that you make your own breaks,” Krantz added.
“D-B has a scrappy ballclub. Cody threw a good game. He just got tired and left a couple of pitches up.’’
D-B’s Nick Loughry went 2-for-3, boosting his batting average to .523. “Nick has worked hard,’’ Ritz said. “He deserves everything he gets.’’