To have success this weekend — and this season — pitching depth is paramount for local high school baseball teams.
That’s why the boost senior Adam Hallam gave Glendale on Friday could prove important today as the Red and Blue Classic tournament closes, and could also pay dividends down the road.
Hallam pitched five strong innings in his first career varsity start, earning the 7-2 home victory against Ozark.
“It’s important for us because of our four wins, they were by two guys,” Glendale coach Mike Snodgrass said. “So, now we’ve got another guy on the win column, another guy we can think about throwing out there more. It was big for him and the team both.”
The win moves Glendale to 2-0 in the three-day event, which continues today for the Falcons with a 9:30 a.m. hosting of Aurora and a 2:30 p.m. game against Nixa.
The winner will be determined by the best record of the 12-team field. Each team is playing four games in the Red and Blue, which is being played at Glendale, Parkview, Kickapoo and Hillcrest.
Hallam stayed mostly with fastballs, but could be a reliable option on the mound for Snodgrass with more good efforts like Friday. As his confidence grows, Hallam said, approach could change.
“First time out, I just thought I’d get my zone fit, so I focused on the fast(ball),” Hallam said. “Hopefully next time out I can start working in some more off-speed (pitches).”
The only runs Hallam allowed were off a two-run, third-inning double by Caleb Essick, which took a strange hop in the Glendale outfield .
That gave Ozark (3-4) a 2-1 lead, but Glendale responded with a six-run fourth inning to take control. Ty Clinkenbeard, Matt Glenn, Will Blount and Evan Payne had hits in the inning. Jeremy Cologna drew a bases-loaded walk and Scott Harned was hit by a pitch to earn an RBI.
Both teams had six hits and two errors apiece, but Ozark coach Mike Essick said intensity played a factor in the outcome.
“There was no doubt which team was more intense,” Essick said. “We expect them to respond every day, but with just a little more intensity and a little more desire, we should be sitting here 6-1.
“We’re our own worst enemy.”
Meanwhile, Ozark could not capitalize on threats offensively. Early, double plays in each of the first two innings quieted rallies.
“Those were really big momentum-changers,” Hallam said. “I’m out there working away, and it’s great to see the whole team’s backing me up. It’s really nice.”
Late, the Tigers could not get key hits, stranding eight running in the final four innings.
Andrew Givens pitched the final two innings to earn the save for the Falcons (5-4), who entered the tournament on a three-game losing streak.
Ozark plays host Hillcrest at 9:30 a.m. today and then plays Willard shortly after.
“We’re just not doing the little things,” Essick said.
“Our approach at the plate is just inconsistent. All we ask is that you hit the ball in play and hit it hard. Quality contact is what we’re looking for.”