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Trojans take one game from Jesuit

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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The fact that Mother Nature denied the Oak Ridge baseball team a home-field advantage in its opening week of league play didn’t seem to bother the Trojans. Despite a 1-2 start against defending section champion Jesuit, Oak Ridge showed that they deserve mention in the same sentence as their Delta River League rivals. The league opener on April 10 at Jesuit saw both teams’ pitchers have incredible outings. Oak Ridge sophomore Austin Root matched Stanford-bound Logan James with zeroes on the scoreboard until the seventh inning when Jesuit’s leadoff hitter Andre Gregory took Root deep for a two-out walk-off home run to give the Marauders a 1-0 win. Thursday’s game scheduled at Oak Ridge was rained out and moved to Saturday for a double-header. Both games on Saturday were played at Jesuit, as the Trojan diamond was still worn from the heavy rain of the week. In the first game in which the Trojans were the home team — Oak Ridge got an early 2-0 lead on a Cody Morris homer in the first. Starter Alex Fitchett went six strong innings, striking out eight before his exit, when Jesuit came back to tie the game at two heading into the seventh. Lance Berringer led the bottom half of the inning off with a double, as the Trojans eventually loaded the bases for Cody Uharriet, whose fly ball was deep enough to score Berringer from third for a walk-off sacrifice fly and a 3-2 Trojan win. In the nightcap, Oak Ridge scored runs in the first three innings, including an RBI double from Alec de Watteville in the second and another run-scoring single from Logan Marston that gave the Trojans a 3-1 lead in the third. Jesuit’s bats came alive on run-scoring hits from Dan Johnson, Zach Green, Jordan Hanlin, and two from Alex Larivee over the following three innings to give Jesuit a three-run cushion. The Trojans got the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but the Jesuit bullpen was able to hold the 6-3 edge for the victory. “I say it all the time; Jesuit is the defending champ until someone beats them,” said Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton, who despite the two losses, is pleased with the way his team is competing early this season. “It was one of those things where each game could have went either way. We didn’t quite get the big hit when we needed it.” This week, the Trojans (9-5 overall, 1-2 in league) begin a three-game series against Pleasant Grove, who is the last undefeated Delta River League team at 3-0 (12-3 overall). The Eagles are yet another team that could pose as a threat for the league crown in Melton’s opinion. “I’d say every team has a chance to win it all but we’re right there with anyone in the area,” he said. “Our pitching has been there all year and I think we’ve had a good turning point with our bats. We’re having better at bats and I think our best baseball is still ahead of us.” The Trojans will sandwich a pair of games at Pleasant Grove on Monday and Thursday around a home game on Tuesday. “Hopefully if we can get a stretch of good weather, we can get some good rhythm going,” said Melton. “But we will go anywhere to play anyone at anytime.”