Callaway pulls away from Jordan

Published 12:49 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

By kevin eckleberry

Daily News

COLUMBUS – The game was still very much in the balance when Callaway’s Austin Barber was called upon to get his team out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth inning.

What was a four-run lead for Callaway at the start of the inning had shrunk to two, and the home-standing Jordan Red Jackets had the bases loaded with two outs when head coach Dusty Hubbard brought Barber into the game.

With the tying run standing on second base, a Jordan batter made solid contact and lined the ball back toward the mound, and the left-handed Barber showed off his reflexes and made a nice catch for the third out.

The Cavaliers then ended the suspense by scoring nine runs in the seventh inning, and Barber pitched a perfect bottom of the seventh to finish off a 17-6 victory.

Callaway (13-9 overall) improved to 7-3 in Region 5-AA to remain in second place, and it will play Jordan two more times on Thursday at home, with the first game of the doubleheader set to begin at 4:30 p.m.

Callaway completes its region schedule with three games against Callaway next week.

While Callaway isn’t likely to catch first-place Bremen (11-1 in region play), it is in great shape to finish second, which would secure a home series in the state playoffs.

While Tuesday’s performance wasn’t a flawless one by the Cavaliers, they returned home with a victory in hand, so it was a successful day.

“I thought we were scrappy. I really did,” Hubbard said. “And that’s all I can ask from them.”

Barber was the third and final Callaway pitcher who appeared in Tuesday’s game.

Freshman Justin Moore started and pitched into the fifth inning, and he left the game with a man on and no outs.

Walt Stewart, with catcher Luke Swann helping out by throwing out a potential base stealer out at third, got three outs with no runs scoring.

Stewart ran into trouble in the sixth inning when he hit four batters, and after Jordan scored two runs, Barber came in and put out the fire.

Barber, after doing it on offense as well with a two-run single during the top of the seventh, struck out the final two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh to close thingsout.

While Barber ended the game with a flourish by striking out two men, Jordan did a nice job of putting the ball in play, and Callaway’s defense was solid behind the pitchers with no errors.

Callaway also had some outstanding plays in the field, including a leaping catch by shortstop Drake Wade that robbed a Jordan player of a hit.

“With our pitching the way it is, we don’t really have strikeout guys,” Hubbard said. “That’s probably the way we’re going to have to play.”

Until Callaway’s nine-run explosion in the seventh inning, it was anybody’s game.

The game was tied at 4-4 when the Cavaliers went on top with a single run in the top of the fifth, and they added four more runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-4 lead.

Jordan made a strong push in the bottom of the sixth to get within two before Callaway put it away in the seventh inning.

During the marathon seventh inning, the Cavaliers sent 14 batters to the plate, and they took advantage of some costly errors as well as six walks to put a nine-spot on the scoreboard.

Tucker Starling, one of a handful of freshmen who played for Callaway, had a two-run single, and Barber and Bryce Kurian also had RBI hits in the inning.

Kurian had a sacrifice fly for an RBI during his first at-bat in the inning, and Braelin Mitchell had a bases-loaded walk to drive in a run.

Trailing 2-0, the Cavaliers put their first run on the board in the second inning, with Destin Patrick leading off with a double and later scoring on an Andrew Locke sacrifice fly.

The Cavaliers took the lead with three runs in the third inning.

Mitchell walked and scored on a Trent Sheppard double, and Wesley Marchman had an RBI single in the inning.

After Jordan tied it, Callaway went back on top with a run in the fifth inning.

Sheppard led off with a triple, and he came home on Marchman’s sacrifice fly.

The Cavaliers plated three more runs in the top of the sixth, with Stewart getting things started with a base hit.

Starling, Stewart’s courtesy runner, scored on an error, and Kurian came home on a double steal before Marchman capped the rally with an RBI double.

Sheppard, Marchman and Kurian each had two hits for Callaway, with Marchman driving in three runs and Kurian knocking in two.

Patrick, Starling, Stewart and Barber each had one hit, and Andrew Locke and Braelin Mitchell had RBIs.