Ava capitalized on an early first inning lead to defeat the Strafford Indians, 7-0. The Bears' starting pitcher Ben Loge was nothing but dominant from the mound, striking out 15 in seven scoreless innings.
“I was falling off with my pitches and my mechanics weren’t right,” said Loge. “But I came back throwing strikes because I’m confident with a good defense behind me.”
Ava’s junior starting pitcher, Loge, threw seven shutout innings allowing six hits while striking out 15, despite two rough innings where he allowed the bases to be loaded in the fourth, and was hit in the face by a Strafford Indian line drive in the fifth.
“As the game goes on, Ben gets stronger with his fastball,” said Ava head coach Rex Sawyer. “It was a little scary in the fifth when got hit in the lip, but he’s a tough kid.”
The Bears’ leadoff-man Cooper Emerich was the first to score after Chance Boyd was struck by a pitch with the bases loaded. Chase Gastineu and Cody Huff would follow him home as Strafford allowed designated hitter Zach Hunsaker to first on a dropped third strike.
“We haven’t had a first inning like that in a month,” said Strafford head coach Shane Pierce. “Unfortunately, their pitcher did an outstanding job and their hitters executed well getting seven runs off our pitcher.”
Loge finished strong in the game’s final two innings by only allowing two singles and struck out six, three of which in came in order in the bottom of the seventh.
“Our guys know they can win a ball game no matter who we’re playing,” said Sawyer.
Ava improves to 14-7 and will face top-seeded Springfield Catholic in the Class 3 - District 10 final.
Strafford concludes the season with a 17-7 record.
Strafford: Jacob Wade 4.0 IP 4H 6R 5ER 6K; Jacob Shoemaker 3.0 IP 2H 1R 1ER 4K
Team Batting -
2B Cooper Emerich 2-4 2RBI 2B R K
SS Chase Gastineu 1-3 R SAC Bunt K
SP Ben Loge 1-3 RBI
… PR Caleb McFarlin CS
LF Jesse Johnson 0-4 2K
3B Cody Huff 0-2 HPB R
C Chance Boyd 0-2 RBI R K
DH Zach Hunsaker 0-3 3K
CF Brett Vinson 2-3 RBI K
RF Colton Akers 0-2 BB R 2K
3B/RP Jacob Shoemaker 1-4 K
2B Brandon Foley 0-3 SAC Bunt 3K
RF Charles Price 0-3 BB 3K
SP/1B Jacob Wade 2-3
… PH Colton Leamy 0-1 K
SS Jake Berry 0-2 K
LF Kyle Tate 0-1 BB HPB
DH/3B Blake Lutgen 1-3 2K
C Chanler Collins 0-2 K
… PH Luke Oliver 0-1 K
CF Dallas Hester 2-3
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