COSHOCTON – Coshocton spends plenty of practice time on situational base running, particularly rundown plays.
Their efforts paid dividends on Friday.
Conner Roahrig plated the go-ahead run off a first-and-third steal with two outs in the fifth inning, the key play that sent Coshocton to a 3-2 win against Zanesville in an East Central Ohio League game at Lake Park.
Zanesville tied the game at 2 when Josh Clark singled home Braxton Snyder in the fifth, the second time it overcame a one-run deficit in the game.
Coshocton (9-3, 4-2 ECOL) made sure the Blue Devils’ momentum was short-lived.
Roahrig reached with a lead-off single, stole second one out later and took third on a two-out wild pitch, which followed a walk to Talon Babcock.
Babcock then purposely attempted to steal second and induce the pick-off, which led to a rundown, but the throw home was too late after Roahrig took off from third.
“The whole point was for me to stall long enough to let (Roahrig) steal home,” Babcock said. “Luckily, we had some wheels on third. It’s kind of a do-or-die play.”
Coshocton coach Scott Loomis said his team “is always working on those first and third plays” during practices.
“It’s worked for us a lot this year,” Loomis said. “Luckily for us, we had a couple of heady guys on the bases at the time.”
Zanesville coach David Balo, smelling the proverbial skunk, saw the play coming. But like many times this season, it was a fundamental breakdown that allowed the run to score.
“Bottom line, 0-and-2 on the batter with two outs, let him have the base,” Balo said. “I thought I made it clear, but apparently I didn’t. You hope the middle infielder cuts off the runner to make it easier to get a throw home. It was a cluster. But that play didn’t beat us. You get four hits, and it’s a series of plays during the course of the game.”
Zanesville (4-9, 3-2) had two innings to get the equalizer, but Babcock got the final six outs without consequence to seal it. He stranded a runner on first in the top of the seventh after Snyder singled.
Babcock, one of the Redskins’ top arms, went the distance. He allowed seven base runners and twice gave up the lead but effectively pitched out of two jams in the early innings and kept the Blue Devils off-balance.
Balo said he is tired of using youth as an excuse for his team’s troubles. After starting 3-1, they’ve lost eight of nine.
“When you’re at Game 14, it’s time to start getting it done,” Balo said.
The loss overshadowed an otherwise strong showing from sophomore Caden Mumaw, who allowed seven hits and one earned run in 51/3 innings. He collected five strikeouts and walked only one.
“That’s the best I’ve seen him, without a doubt,” Balo said. “I felt like he threw eight pitches in that game that were almost unhittable.”
Clark, who also singled, had two of the Blue Devils’ hits. Mumaw also drove in a run.
Hunter Haas and Joe Batchelor had RBI singles for the Redskins.