CRESCENT — It has been six years since Maynard last won an Ohio Valley Baseball League title. The Indians are within one victory of doing so this summer.
Chris McIntyre delivered a solid effort on the mound and Tyler Ramsay broke out of a hitting slump as the visitors (16-6) scored early and never looked back Wednesday night in posting a 6-1 triumph over Barton in Game 2 of the championship series on Henning Field inside Pramesa Park.
Maynard went back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 and can add another piece of hardware on Friday night when they host the Braves (11-9) at 6 in Game 3 of the best-of-5 format on Firemen’s Field inside the Community Park.
“That’s our goal,” Maynard manager David Vicker said of the possibility of closing the series out Friday at home.
Should Barton prevail, the series floats about a mile down Big Wheeling Creek to Henning Field inside Crescent’s Pramesa Park for Game 4 on Sunday at 1 p.m. A fifth-and-deciding game, if needed, would be played on Monday back in Maynard at 6.
“Chris threw a gem today and Barton didn’t really threaten much,” Vicker said. “Chris was in control the entire game.”
The hard-throwing righty only struck out three while scattering four hits in a 99-pitch outing, of which 63 were strikes. After allowing a run in the first on Bailey McGrath’s two-out double to deep right-center that scored Colton Coss, McIntyre only allowed two Braves to reach second base.
“I threw fastballs for the majority of the game,” McIntyre added. “I just located them pretty well. I’ve been doing that all season. Even when I don’t have my best velocity, I notice that hitting spots … jamming them inside or hitting that outside corner … is when I’m pitching pretty good.”
Maynard, the No. 2 seed, scored all of the runs it would need in its first at-bat. Jayden Starks singled leading off and went to third when Hunter Westlake’s one-out drive to deep left-center was misplayed into a two-base error. Tyler Ramsay then sent a 1-1 pitch back up the middle as both runners scored. B.A. Holloway singled and Mason Ramsay walked to load the bases. With two outs, Corey Kotopka was hit with a 2-2 pitch to force in a run and make it 3-0.
“That always a confidence booster when we score some runs in the top of the first inning. I know what needs to be done,” McIntyre said. “Pitching against Barton it is all about location. It doesn’t matter how hard you are throwing, it is all about hitting your spots. They are a good hitting team.”
Westlake, the hero of Game 1, singled in a run in the fourth and Starks raced home on a wild pitch as the lead grew to 5-1.
Tyler Ramsay concluded the scoring in the sixth with a two-out RBI double.
“I’ve been slumping a little the past couple of weeks. Tonight when I went in the box I was just trying to relax my hands and look for pitches I can handle,” Ramsay explained. “He fooled me a couple of times. I struck out with the bases loaded there when we could’ve gotten some more runs, but I came through when it mattered. I’m starting to swing myself out of it (the slump).
“The two-run single in the first got us started and then in the sixth I knew with two outs and Matt on first all I had to do was hit a gap and he would score,” Ramsay noted.
Fourth-seeded and defending champion Barton threatened in the sixth when Kaden Blomquist singled with one out and Anthony Zorne reached on an error. However, McIntyre got a groundball up the middle that Busby fielded, stepped on second for out No. 2 and then threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
“That was a big play right there,” Vicker recalled.
While Barton could only muster up four hits, Maynard banged out a dozen as Starks recorded three singles and scored twice. Busby and Corey Kotopka also enjoyed multiple-hit games.
“We’re on to Game 3 Friday. That’s all I have to say,” Barton manager Billy Timko said.
Westlake made an outstanding catch in foul territory behind third base in the bottom of the second. Barton second baseman Dmitri Collaros had a nice running grab of a popup in shallow right in the fifth.
Vicker will send lefty Michael “Zuke” Jacob to the hill on Friday. He started in Game 1 but didn’t figure in the decision. Timko will counter with right-hander Dillon Sunnafrank.
McIntyre has now won both games of the series. He threw 8 pitches on Tuesday in the 10th inning in relief.