HS Baseball: Rain and Reschedule Cannot Keep Grizzlies From Securing a Win

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 03/18/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The rain and a reschedule to finish the remainder of a game could not prevent the Grand Oaks Grizzlies (14-4) from capturing a win over the College Park Cavaliers (10-8).

The initial start date of the game was on Friday the 15th, under gloomy and drizzly conditions.

Grand Oaks came out the gates with a fiery presence at the plate, which fueled the team’s early effort. Lengthy stays in the batter’s box saw the Grizzlies extend their time by hitting foul balls or wisely deciding on throws outside.

Wise decision-making from Grand Oaks also sped up the decline of the College Park pitching. A lead-off walk in the top of the first was followed by a series of wild throws that eventually brought home Parker Blackman for a 1-0 Grand Oaks lead.

The Grizzlies piled onto their early lead with a second inning that further widened the gap against the Cavs. A string of walks, errors, and savvy batting saw Grand Oaks fill the bags with none out. Then, a 2-run RBI nearly emptied the bags before stranding runners in scoring position. Even with runners left on base, the lead now towered 3-0 against College Park in the second inning.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Grand Oaks Head Coach Lou Ferrell explained the working factors that got his team ahead so early.

“We were pretty good on the bases early,” said Ferrell. “The guys were aggressive on good counts, made good reads on the bases, and that really helped us take advantage early.”

In response to the quick deficit, College Park’s best effort was to muster a minor scoring effort in the bottom of the second.

With two out and none on, the Cavaliers relied on Griffin Lyczkowski to get aboard via a walk and start the possible scoring. A double advanced Lyczkowski into the best scoring position the Cavs had seen all game, and he finished the job by sliding into home following a wild pitch.

Two runners were left stranded for College Park, but a 3-1 deficit with six full innings remaining promised a potential comeback if the team’s bats could connect.

Unfortunately for the Cavs, the Grizzlies pitcher Marc Barnhard was feasting on the timid bats that came against him. Through his five innings on the mound, Barnhard racked up six strikeouts to only one run earned.

“[Barnhard] did a great job with the start for us and getting us off to that good beginning,” said Ferrel in praise of his starting pitcher. “He just did a great job in giving us what we needed.”

College Park’s limited offense meant the Grizzlies were free to push their advantage through the midpoint of the matchup.

A lead-off single from Sam Rickman to start the fourth resumed the efficient hitting for Grand Oaks. Rickman was further aided in his journey around the bags by a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI from Blackman extended the lead to 4-1.

The only flaw demonstrated by the Grizzlies throughout the contest was the number of runners left stranded on base. In total, Grand Oaks left eight runners on the bags throughout the game, but their flaw meant little when an overall dominant effort continued to keep the team ahead.

A scoreless fifth inning left the teams trying to rekindle the fire in the sixth. A sequence of three up and three down for Grand Oaks meant they would have to try again, but the Cavs started to see some success.

With two out, College Park managed to salvage the inning by putting two runners on with back-to-back walks. Then, a heavy downpour and lightning in the area forced the teams to suspend the contest from its initial start to a final inning and a half to be finished on Monday.

After a weekend away from the matchup, play resumed on a sunny Monday evening, with the Cavaliers retaining their two runners. Luckily for the Grizzlies, their reliever, Austin Dolezal, only needed three pitches to strand the runners and deliver another scoreless inning.

“It’s an awkward situation when you have to wait several days to finish a game,” said Ferrell on Monday. “But luckily, we were able to refocus and come out to take care of business.”

Grand Oaks took their time in the top of the seventh to tack on another run for insurance after walks brought Bennett Hale in for the score.

A three up, three down bottom of the seventh squashed any hopes of a College Park comeback, and the Grizzlies walked away with an unconventional 5-1 win.

“This is a district where every team is very good and can beat you every game that you play,” said Ferrell postgame. “You have to stay focused for those two or three hours, and hopefully, you can be in the top four at the end of the day.”

Grand Oaks will take their unconventional win in the hopes of parlaying it into a victory against Caney Creek on Tuesday. College Park will look to pick itself up from a tough loss with a game against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

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