Yellow Jackets shut out Oakdale twice in district sweep

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By Taylor Crombie

The Coalfield Yellow Jackets bounced back over spring break, snapping a four-game losing streak by sweeping the Oakdale Eagles with an 18-0 road win and a 9-0 win at home.

The Jackets had trouble stringing hits together to produce runs in their district games against Rockwood and Harriman, but that was a different story against Oakdale. Coalfield had 22 hits in the Oakdale series, with four apiece from Ashton Jones, Tyler Keathley and Jake Kilby.

“We had a rough go last week,” Coalfield coach Andy Lowe said. “We had a little come together meeting and I told the boys we need to start playing baseball better this week or it’ll be a long season.

“Our hitting is starting to come along. We’ve been hitting the ball OK, but we haven’t been getting timely hits. Finally, in the last two games we’ve had some hits in a row.”

Oakdale had the same issue that Coalfield faced the week before. The Eagles were getting hits, but were not turning them into runs.

“We did better today,” Oakdale coach Darren Norris said following Tuesday’s loss. “We hit the ball a little more, but we’ve got to string the hits together when we’ve got guys on base. We left 11 runners on base and you just can’t do that in a district match up.”

Coalfield took an early lead at Oakdale last Monday and just kept adding onto it here and there until the sixth inning when the Jackets scored 11 runs to secure the 18-0 run-rule victory.

Lance Byrd struck out nine through five shutout innings, while only giving up one hit and three walks.

Keathley led off with a walk, then stole second and third with Wyatt Withrow at the plate. Withrow hit a line drive to center field, driving in Keathley from third to put the Jackets on the board. Kilby followed up with a double out to center, driving in Withrow and giving Coalfield a 2-0 lead.

The Jackets added two more runs with two outs in the third inning. Noah Anderson got Kilby to pop out and struck out Jeffery Speer to start the inning, then gave up a double to Jones and a walk to Byrd. Nathan Harvey drove in Jones with a single, then Byrd stole home to put the Jackets up 4-0.

Anderson walked Speer and Byrd, and struck out Jones to start the fifth inning before being replaced by Evan Burchfield. Burchfield walked Harvey to load the bases, but picked off Speer at third for the second out of the inning. The Eagles weren’t in the clear yet, though. Burchfield hit Dawson Nitzschke with a pitch to reload the bases, then walked Dalton Nitzschke and Keathley to force in two runs. Ian Goldston replaced Burchfield on the mound and walked one more run in before Kilby grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Burchfield broke up Byrd’s no-hitter in the bottom of the inning with a double to left, but was tagged out at third trying to extend it to a triple. Byrd struck out Dallas Smith for his ninth K of the game to get out of the inning.

Goldston gave up two four-pitch walks before he was replaced by Garrett Best. Best gave up a four-pitch walk, then struck out Luke Adkisson. Johnny Carroll was hit by a pitch to force in the first run of the inning, then Tyler Lively reached on an error to force in another.

Keathley singled to left to drive in two, Owens walked, then Kilby doubled to center to drive in two more. Walks and hit batters forced in four more runs before the Eagles got the second out of the inning from an infield fly. Keathley was hit by a pitch to drive in one more run, bringing the score to 18-0.

Keathley replaced Byrd on the mound in the sixth inning and gave up a walk to Eli Solomon and a single to Dustin Cooney, but got out of the inning unscathed to give Coalfield the 18-0 win.

The Eagles did a lot better at the plate at Coalfield on Tuesday, but still were not able to drive any runs in as the Jackets shut them out 9-0.

Keathley got Coalfield going early with a leadoff double against Dustin Cooney. Withrow grounded out, which allowed Keathley to advance to third, then Cooney struck Kilby out swinging. Jones reached on an error to keep the inning alive, while Keathley scored to give Coalfield a 1-0 lead. Cooney struck Dawson Nitzschke out swinging to end the inning.

Best hit his second single of the game in the third inning, then Anderson and Solomon reached on errors to load the bases with one out, but Cooney grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Jackets added two runs in the bottom of the inning with two outs. Kilby singled, then Jones and Nitzschke hit back-to-back doubles to drive in the runs.

Goldston and Burchfield hit back-to-back singles to try to get something going for the Eagles in the fourth inning with one out. Jericho Lowe struck out Dallas Smith and Patterson at the bottom of the order to keep Oakdale scoreless.

Coalfield added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead to 7-0. Lively, the ninth batter, hit a two-out single, then Keathley, Withrow, Kilby and Jones hit four consecutive doubles to drive in a run each. Keathley drove in another run in the fifth and Dalton Nitzschke drove in a run in the sixth as the pinch hitter for Speer to bring the final to 9-0 Coalfield.

Lowe pitched six scoreless innings for Coalfield, gave up six hits, no walks and struck out eight in the win. Cooney went five and two thirds and gave up 14 hits to Coalfield’s high-powered offense, with a walk and three strikeouts in the losing effort.