BLOG — Not many series wins in the postseason are going to come as easy as Oxford’s did this week.
Oxford finished off a dominant two-day stretch against Callaway on Friday, easing past the visiting Chargers 10-0 at Edwin Moak Field to earn a series sweep in the play-in round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs. Oxford (21-7), which took the opener 11-0 less than 24 hours earlier in Jackson, won both games by way of the 10-run mercy rule and gave up five combined hits.
Oxford, which entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in Region 2, now gets what is sure to be a much tougher test in a best-of-three series against Lewisburg starting Thursday. Lewisburg won the Class 4A state title last season and hasn’t missed a beat in its move to 5A, losing just five games and winning the Region 1 championship.
“They’re supposed to win it all,” Oxford coach Chris Baughman said. “All I’ve heard all year long from up there is how it’s going to be Lewisburg and New Hope in North Half, and it very well could be. They’re very talented. But they’re no more talented than we are. … It’s going to be about making plays.”
The Chargers made plenty of them to dispose of Callaway (7-15).
After mustering just one hit through the first three innings of Thursday’s game, Oxford got its bats going early against Callaway starter Daniel McCoy, who took the loss after allowing six earned runs in three innings of work. Catcher Jack McClure, who entered the game with a team-leading .361 average, got Oxford on the board with an RBI single in the first, and left fielder Michael Bianco and designated hitter Brooks Krouse followed suit in the second for a quick 4-0 lead.
Oxford put up five more runs in the third, two coming on squeeze plays. The Chargers pounded out seven of their nine hits through the first three frames en route to the blowout victory.
Sophomore right-hander Houston Roth turned in another gem to run his record to 9-0. The sophomore went the distance, yielding just three hits and striking out two. Callaway advanced a baserunner past first base just once.
“Houston was Houston,” Baughman said. “He went out there and threw four pitches for strikes. He got ahead in counts and mixed up his pitches real well, and he located well. That’s what he does. That’s what he’s done the last four years in this program since he was a seventh-grader.”
Third baseman Hunter Roth went 2-for-2 for Oxford. Houston Roth, Chadwick Lamar, Drew Phillips and Pittman Phillips each drove in a run.
McClure, who had three hits and three RBIs in the series in six at-bats, talks about the win and the upcoming series against Lewisburg in the video below.
See Monday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage from Friday’s game. (April 25, 2014)