Indian Creek nips St. Clairsville

MINGO JUNCTION – Indian Creek rode a couple of two-out lightning bolts to its sixth consecutive victory Friday.

Down four early, the Redskins rallied behind the bat of Cole Yeater and the arm of Dustin Rath to earn a 6-5 Buckeye 8 win over St. Clairsville at cold and windy Muth Field.

“As my brother Randy (a Creek assistant) said we needed a win like this,” coach Mike Cottis noted. “We were down, we rallied and the guys now believe they can come back.”

The Red Devils, who dropped a 15-3 decision to Creek earlier this week, built a 5-1 advantage after four. Run producing singles by Ryan Busby and Luke Slavik put Tom Sliva’s club up 2-0 in the second.

St. Clairsville plated three more in the fourth thanks to Slavik’s double along with base raps by Malik Gummer and Busby (he earned a second RBI with this hit). Joel Giffen also knocked in a run via a sacrifice fly to left.

Meanwhile, Red Devil starter Andrew Hayes was able to keep the Redskins offense fairly quiet. He did allow a run in the third, Rath’s fielder’s choice scoring Alex Young, who started the frame with an infield single.

That two-out lightning struck first in the home half of the fifth. Young and Tanner Wise both drew free passes and Zach Williams, who collected three hits against the Devils Wednesday, was intentionally walked to load the bases. Hayes whiffed the next Creek batter, recording the second out.

Yeater stepped to the plate and drilled a sharp single to center, scoring Young and Wise. Anthony Young, who was inserted to run for Williams, scored on a pass ball and Yeater touched the plate on a second pass ball, knotting the score at five.

Wise started the Redskins’ seventh with a single down the first base line. He moved up on Rath’s sacrifice bunt. Williams was walked for the third time then Hayes again was able to record the second out. Unfortunately for him and the Devils, Yeater came to bat again.

This time, the sophomore, who started on the mound for Creek, lined one to right center, bringing Wise home with the game-winner.

“He started off pitching well but just seemed to run out of game” Cottis said of Yeater. “To his credit, he didn’t hang his head. He dug deep and delivered two run scoring singles for us with two outs.”

Rath took over for Yeater in the fourth and earned the pitching win. He didn’t allow a hit and record three strikeouts.

“Dustin came in and threw strikes,” Cottis noted. “He gave our defense a chance and kept us in the game. Then he laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the seventh to put runners in scoring position.”

The Creek defense made some nifty plays behind Rath, particularly in the St. Clairsville sixth. Sean Smith’s shoe-top catch in left denied a Red Devil hit then Williams knocked down a bullet at first before flipping to Rath to end the inning.

Hayes also got some help from his defense along the way, shortstop Lewis Mitchell turning in several web gems.

“We’ve had lots of tough ones so far,” Sliva said of his Red Devils, who have dropped four contests in the final inning. “That’s been our M.O. We’re playing hard, jumping out to leads but we aren’t able to finish.

“We have to get tougher both mentally and physically. We have to realize we play seven inning ball games.”

Wise joined Yeater in collecting two hits for Creek, which visits Cambridge today for a single game at 1 p.m.

Slavik and Busby each had two safeties for St. Clairsville, now 2-8. The Red Devils will host Bellaire Monday.