Eagles blank Vikings in district semifinals

Published 12:19 am Sunday, May 23, 2021

Jim Walker

AID — It’s tough to score when you don’t get many hits. It’s almost impossible to score when you get no hits.
The Eastern Eagles’ Matthew Blanchard threw a no-hitter and they used one inning to score all their runs as they beat the Symmes Valley Vikings 5-0 in the Division 4 district semifinals on Saturday.
Blanchard — who struck out 16 in the sectional title game win over Waterford — fanned nine, hit a batter and did not issue a walk.
“We hit the ball, but we hit it right at them. We struck out nine times but that’s not bad against a pitcher of (Blanchard’s) caliber. He’s the real deal. He’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all year,” said Vikings’ coach Chad Renfroe.
Symmes Valley senior Devin Renfroe pitched well in the tough-luck loss. He worked five-plus innings giving up just two hits, two runs and only one earned, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
“Devin pitched well. He threw one of the best game he’s pitched all season. But when you don’t get any hits, it’s hard to win. You have to be perfect on defense or scratch a run across or hit the ball. We just didn’t hit the ball,” said coach Renfroe.
The game was scoreless until the sixth when the Eagles scored all their runs.
Until the sixth, Renfroe had limited Eastern to only a single.
Eastern proceeded to score five runs on five hits along with the aid of an error.
Ryan Ross reached on an error to start the inning and Brayden Smith singled.
Blanchard doubled home two runs, Conner Ridenour walked and Preston Thorla doubled in a pair. Bullington singled and Thorla scored on a passed ball.
Despite the loss, coach Renfroe praised his team and the two seniors A.J. Littreal and his son Devin.
“These kids played hard and never game up. This is one of the best groups I’ve coached in terms of attitude and work ethic,” said coach Renfroe.
Eastern 000 005 0 = 5 6 0
Sym. Valley 000 000 0 = 0 0 1
Matthew Blanchard and Jace Bullington. Devin Renfroe, Caden Brammer (6), Brayden Webb (6) and Nick Strow. W-Blanchard (K-9, BB-0, HBP-1). L-Renfroe (IP-5.0, R-2, ER-1, H-2, K-5, BB-0, HBP-1). Brammer (IP-0.2, H-3, R-3, ER-3, BB-1). Webb (IP-1.1, K-2, BB-1). Hitting-RE: Brayden Smith 2-4, Matthew Blanchard 2-4 2B, Preston Thorla 1-3, Jace Bullington 1-2.

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