Oak Ridge exacts revenge vs. Leopold

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Thomas (Brett)

OAK RIDGE, Mo. -- For all but one inning, everything went according to plan for the Oak Ridge baseball team.

Ace Brett Thomas shut out Leopold for six innings and the Blue Jays built a big lead they were able to hold on to for a 9-5 win Wednesday.

Oak Ridge led 9-0 entering the seventh inning, but after Leopold's Lance Seiler reached base after striking out to begin the inning, the Wildcats batted around and scored all five of their runs before Seiler grounded out to second base to end the game.

"That was just a bad start," Oak Ridge coach Jason Niswonger said of the final inning. "A pitcher doesn't want to come in to that -- let the first guy on when it should have been an out."

Thomas' start was far better. He stuck out 12 and walked two before being relived by Lucas Rohde to start the seventh.

"It was fine," Thomas said of his performance on the mound. "I don't think I had my best stuff, but I was around the plate enough and had good defense behind me and made pitches when I had to."

Niswonger, who said there was no reason to send Thomas back to the mound to close out the game, called Thomas' performance "the usual."

"He's given up one earned run in four games, so that's normal for him," Niswonger said. "It's hard to say anything new about him."

With the victory, Oak Ridge avenged its loss to Leopold in the championship game of the tournament it hosted Saturday and improved to 7-5 this season.

"You never want to lose your own tournament, but this was a conference game," Thomas said. "We had a little bit more energy in my opinion this game. I thought our whole team was a little bit more upbeat about the whole game, and it's always nice to come out and beat somebody after they beat you in your own tournament."

Thomas got one hit from the No. 3 spot in the lineup Wednesday but was intentionally walked twice.

"I wasn't real surprised," Thomas said. "I was a little agitated more than anything. I like to hit."

Instead, cleanup hitter Dakota Zoellner had a big day for the Blue Jays. The sophomore went 3 for 4 with five RBI and also reached base after being struck by a pitch.

"I take what they give me," Thomas said. "Dakota hit well today and the people behind me hit well, and we made them pay for it and that's what we need. I'll take a walk every at-bat if that's the case."

The teams, which share a district assignment, will play for a final time in the regular season at 4:15 p.m. next Thursday at Leopold to determine a winner for the season series and likely which team will get the higher district seed.

Leopold 000 000 5 -- 5 7 3

Oak Ridge 150 003 x -- 9 9 1

WP -- Brett Thomas, 4-0. LP -- John Bohnsack. 3B -- Robert Brown (L). 2B -- Kyle Rohde (OR). Multiple hits -- Leopold: Mark VanGennip 2-3; Oak Ridge: K. Rohde 2-5, Dakota Zoellner 3-4. Records -- Oak Ridge 7-5, Leopold 6-5.

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