FREDERICKTOWN — Sometimes an eight-run win doesn’t feel like a blowout.
The Fredericktown baseball team took an early lead against visiting Amanda-Clearcreek and never relinquished control as the Freddies won the Division III Sectional Final game 9-1 at home Thursday.
Fredericktown (19-5) only had six hits, but scored nine runs by any means necessary, which included stolen bases, walks and taking extra bases on Aces errors, among other things.
“9-1. I don’t think it tells how the score went throughout the game,” said Fredericktown Ryan Hathaway. “It was 3-1 until we got a good inning. It was a tight game the whole time. We had to find a way to get a couple runs and we tried to help Nick (Cunningham). He was throwing a good game and we got some runs there late.”
Cunningham, the No. 1 pitcher in the Fredericktown rotation, started on the mound and struck out eight Amanda-Clearcreek batters. He also contributed at the plate with a double to center in the fifth inning and a walk and a run scored in the Freddies six-run sixth inning.
“I just tried to play within myself,” Cunningham said. “My strategy is the get ahead of hitters and then I throw my off speed. I just stick with that and try get people to get themselves out.”
The Freddies put the game away in the sixth when they scored six runs on only three hits.
Brady Williams started the inning with a grounder that was mishandled and then thrown wildly over the first baseman’s head and Williams advanced to third. Zach Vogelsang walked in the next at-bat and then Williams scored and Vogelsang and got all the way to third on a wild pitch during Jake Partington’s at-bat.
After an out, Lincoln Cunningham walked and lefthander Jack Fitzpatrick slapped a single to the opposite field after a pitching change. That hit scored Vogelsang.
Nick Cunningham then walked to load the bases and Caleb Sheriff drove everyone home with a hit that advanced him to third on a two-base error.
“It felt pretty good,” Williams said about he and his team’s action at the plate. “The pitcher seemed to pitching outside all game so the coaches are always telling us to hit it where its pitched.”
The Freddies capitalized on miscues by Amanda-Clearcreek, especially in the sixth when the Aces had two two-base errors, two wild pitches and a dropped third strike that put Clem Cunningham on first base, where he then stole second and reached third on a groundout.
“Good things happen when you can put the ball in play and put it in play hard,” Hathway said. “Line drives or ground balls, so I think on a few of the mistakes they made, we put it in play and we forced them to make plays. At this point in the season, that’s the game.”
Both the coaches and the players realize the urgency about the postseason and have made some adjustments.
“We just tighten up the loose ends,” Nick Cunningham said about the playoffs. “We gotta stick with our game but we try to clean up little things and bring a different focus now that its win or go home.”
The Freddies will take on Johnstown in the district semifinals Monday at 5 p.m. The site has yet to be determined.