New Hope High School senior outfielder Austin Oglesby never sweats his name being in the lineup.
A mainstay in the outfield, Oglesby knows his defensive abilities could loom large in another potential victory.
Tuesday night at Sammy Fletcher Field was a tad bit different. Due to injury, Oglesby got the news that he could unpack his bat and take a few cuts.
Oglesby made the most of his opportunity as his two-run triple broke a tie and helped lift the unbeaten Trojans to a 7-1 victory over the Columbus Falcons.
“Coach told me earlier today I was going to be in the lineup and get a chance to bat,” Oglesby said. “Obviously, I was excited. I will take any role on this team because I just want to help it win.
“Tonight was more exciting. I knew this was my chance and I really wanted to do something special to help the team.”
Oglesby each had a hand in both big innings for New Hope (7-0). The triple was hit off the base of the outfield wall and broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning. He also added a single and scored a run during New Hope’s game-clinching three-run seventh inning.
“I can’t say enough about Austin,” New Hope coach Lee Boyd said. “He epitomizes everything about this team. He is a hard worker who waits patiently for his turn and delivers.
“That is the type of performance we have been getting all year.”
Another strong performance belonged to New Hope junior right-hander Landon Boyd. Boyd threw his first complete game of the year, only needing 88 pitches to finish off a two-hitter.
“We had been trying to get seven innings out of him all year,” Coach Boyd said. “We knew with his pitch count that low, we had a chance to do it tonight.
“After the first two innings (13 total pitches thrown), Landon was really settled in. His change-up was not as effective as it usually is, but he had command.”
Boyd only faced three batters past the minimum.
Columbus (4-2) managed four base runners — with Christian Dale and Tyler Blevins collecting base hits and two others reaching as hit batsmen.
“This was a rivalry game so there was more adrenaline going,” Boyd said. “I had been wanting to go the distance. We have some other big games later on this week, so hopefully, my performance is a lift for this team for the remainder of the week.
The contest swung when New Hope broke the 1-1 tie by scoring three times in the fourth inning.
The Falcons could have escaped the jam with less damage.
After a leadoff double by Boyd, Rookie Coleman hit a high pop-up on the infield.
The Columbus shortstop and second baseman arrived behind the second base bag at the same time and the ball dropped on the infield.
“You have one of the best infielders in the state out there and that play has to be made,” Columbus coach Jeff Cook said. “It was a really big turning point.”
After a flyout, Oglesby ripped his triple off the outfield wall and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Falcons had flirted with taking the lead an inning earlier.
Blevins broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff single. After a sacrifice bunt by Gavonta Webb, Glenn Robinson reached as a hit batsman.
After a wild pitch, an errant pickoff throw set the runners in motion. Blevins scored; however, Robinson was ruled out when he rounded third base and collided with Cook, who was coaching third base at the time.
Instead of the lead, the Falcons left the frame in a 1-1 deadlock and never could regain the momentum.
“We played hard, but we didn’t play smart,” Cook said. “We have to be better in some areas. Trace (Lee) pitched a good game.
“He got tired and they hit hit him later. However, he gave us a chance and deserved better.”
Lee (2-1) worked the first five innings for the Falcons. He allowed 10 hits and five runs (four earned), with four strikeouts.
“Columbus has a fine team this year, so this a big win for us,” Coach Boyd said. “Once we got the momentum on our side, we were in good shape.
“We had some really good timely hitting. That was the difference in the game. We took advantage of our opportunities.”
New Hope finished with 12 hits. Boyd, Oglesby and Will Golsan each had multiple hits.
“We are playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Oglesby said. “The best part about this team is that it is really a team.
“Everybody steps up at different times and does their part. What a great job by Landon tonight on the mound. He was in total control. When you get pitching like that, it’s easy.”
Boyd also likes the strong start by his team. He also likes three-run innings.
“The fourth inning was really big,” Boyd said. “I had a lot of confidence. Then that inning made me feel even better out there.”
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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