ZANESVILLE – John Glenn’s Cameron Roberts took a few batters to get settled in on Wednesday.
Once the senior pitcher found his groove, fourth-seeded Indian Valley had few chances against the left-hander.
Roberts struck out 12 to offset five walks in a two-hit shutout as the second-seeded Muskies advanced with a 4-0 win over the Braves in the Division II sectional baseball tournament at Gant Stadium.
John Glenn (20-5) takes on West Holmes in the sectional championship at 6 p.m. Friday at Gant.
The mound seemed to affect Roberts early, John Glenn coach Brad Barclay said
“Each mound can be different, and he had to adjust,” Barclay said. “He was able to come back and not let it affect him the whole game.”
Barclay credited Roberts for getting ahead in counts and controlling his pitches.
Roberts didn’t allow a hit until Easton Guspyt singled with one out in the sixth inning.
“We stress the importance of a first-pitch strike, and he was able to get ahead (in counts),” Barclay said. “He has three pitches. He controlled all three and kept their guys off-balance.”
The John Glenn offense, which finished with nine hits, took time to get to Indian Valley pitcher Caden McGuire. The team stranded two runners in the first but used three hits to get on the board in the third.
Ben Van Wey hit a one-out single and Dylan Hague followed with a walk. After a pop out led to the second out, Corey Wilson singled up the middle to score Van Wey, and Colton Devoll followed with a single to left, plating Hague for a 2-0 lead.
The Muskies added two in the fourth. Tanner Corder started the one-out rally with a single and Matt Gibson walked. After a passed ball allowed the runners to advance, Matt Stewart hit a single to bring both home for a 4-0 advantage.
Van Wey had a double and a single, Luke Klinehoffer hit a double and Corder added two singles for the Muskies.
“I think we had some tournament jitters early, but we started having quality at-bats” Barclay said. “You’re not beating quality teams 10-0, and Indian Valley is a quality program. It’s very seldom you are going to be able to score a lot of runs in the tournament.”
The Muskies also did not commit an error. Barclay said he thought an effort such as Wednesday’s will be needed to keep the season alive.
“We fielded well, had timely hitting and threw the ball well,” Barclay said. “You have to be able to do those things to have success in the tournament.”
McGuire took the loss and allowed four runs on eight hits with four walks, two strikeouts and a hit batsmen in four-plus innings.
Reliever Coby Eckstein gave up just one hit and struck out two in three innings and Jayden Helter had a single in the seventh for the Braves.