BLOG — Friday’s game between Oxford and New Hope followed a different script than what transpired 24 hours earlier, but unfortunately for the Chargers, the end result was the same.
After seven errors and little offense didn’t give Oxford much of a chance in Thursday’s 7-0 loss in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 5A North Finals against the Trojans, the teams went back and forth in Game 2. But the Trojans were timely with their bats and their gloves to finish off a sweep of the Chargers with a 3-2 victory at Edwin Moak Field.
The loss ended Oxford’s season while New Hope will return to the 5A state championship series looking to defend its title.
Oxford (26-10) had a chance to tie or win in its final at-bat after New Hope’s J.C. Redden issued back-to-back one-out walks. Hunter Roth followed with a smash down the first-base line, but Wells Davis made a diving stop before stepping on first. The Trojans (31-3) issued an intentional walk to load the bases, but Redden got freshman Ben Bianco to foul out to end the game.
“Tip your hat,” Oxford coach Chris Baughman said. “We hit the ball hard. We hit the ball hard several times. Give them credit man. They made the plays. They played like they’ve been here before. But as disappointed as I was in how we played (Thursday) night, I’m that proud and even more proud of them on how they played tonight.”
The Chargers also had a runner at third with one out in the sixth in a 2-2 game before Redden, who worked around four walks and struck out five in the complete-game win, fanned Houston Roth and induced a groundout from Pittman Phillips to keep the game tied going to the final frame.
Baughman put the blame on himself for the Chargers coming up empty.
“We should’ve squeezed,” Baughman said. “We worked on it. I just didn’t have the confidence in us to squeeze. That’s completely my fault. I took it away from our kids.”
Right-hander Houston Roth, who also went the distance, quickly retired the first two Trojans he faced in the seventh with two of his seven strikeouts. But a single, a stolen base and a walk put a pair of runners on for center fielder Taylor Stafford, who slapped a single past a diving Jason Barber in the four-hole to plate Will Golson for the go-ahead run.
New Hope won four of the five meetings between the teams this season, including all three in Oxford.
“We expected a tough series, and I knew that us beating them two out of three during the (regular) season, I knew it was going to be extremely tough for us to come in here and beat them two out of three in the playoffs again,” New Hope coach Lee Boyd said. “We’re fortunate to get it done.”
Oxford outhit the Trojans 7-4, but three of New Hope’s knocks produced runs. Redden put New Hope in front 1-0 in the second with an RBI double, and after Oxford took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Barber’s sac fly and Houston Roth’s infield single, the Trojans answered in the fifth with Josh Stillman’s RBI single to center.
But both of those runs came in following an error. Roth (12-1) allowed just one earned run while fanning seven and walking four in his first loss of the season.
Golson had New Hope’s only other hit. Brooks Krouse went 2-for-2 for Oxford while Bianco also had a pair of hits, including a double.
See Monday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage from Friday’s game. (May 16, 2014)