Weber, Hall, and Williams spark Oxford’s offense in 12-2 win
● By Steven Hoffman
Mike Williams lined a single to right field to score two runs and put an exclamation point on Oxford’s 12-2 win over Sun Valley on April 13.
Mike Weber contributed three hits, including a double, and drove in four runs and Hunter Hall went 4-for-4 and scored two runs—plenty of offensive support for the Hornets’ starting pitcher, Brendan Ward.
Ward scattered four hits and walked just one batter during six innings of work. He struck out five batters en route to his third victory on the young season. The Hornet hurler credited his teammates with playing good defense behind him, and the offense’s prodigious output helped the cause, too.
Ward provided a spark to Oxford’s offense with a double to left-center to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Hall promptly drove him in with an RBI-double to left. Weber then hit a sharp single to score Hall. Oxford led 4-1.
The Hornets put the leadoff hitter on again in the fourth inning when Williams walked. Hall singled, moving Williams to third. Hall then stole second base to move into scoring position. With two strikes, Weber shortened his swing and poked the ball just inside the third base bag for a two-run double.
Just one inning later, Weber came up with the bases loaded and delivered another hit, scoring two more runs. It was 10-2 in Oxford’s favor heading to the sixth inning.
Ward retired Sun Valley in order in the top of the sixth.
Oxford continued its momentum in the bottom half of the inning. Lucas Capelli led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Zach Todd singled and then Eddie Settine walked to load the bases. Williams then delivered the hit that would end the game as the Hornets took a ten-run lead at 12-2.
The victory improved Oxford’s record to 4-3, and Oxford head coach Andy Wendle said that he was pleased with the approach that his hitters took at the plate.
“We’ve done a pretty good job so far,” Wendle said. “We’ve been putting up five, six, seven runs a game.”
Weber, who drove in four runs against Sun Valley has developed a knack for delivering clutch hits. He’s still only a junior, and is only getting better.
Wendle said that Hall has been one of Oxford’s more reliable hitters. Hall had a solid season last year as a freshman, and he has continued to deliver big hits for the Hornets this year.
The addition of Ward has been good for Oxford, too. He transferred in from Salesianum at the start of this school year and very quickly became a part of the team.
“He’s really done a great job for us,” Wendle said. “He pitches, he hits, and he plays well in the field.”
Ward said that Oxford could make a push for the playoffs, especially if the team plays good defense. With talent up and down the lineup, the Hornets can score runs, and Ward said that he thinks pitching might be the strength of the team.
Wendle agreed, saying that Oxford’s pitchers have the opportunity to work hard and expand the team’s potential for success. In addition to Ward, Oxford is counting on Andrew Stefanosky, Jackson West, and Nolan Benke. Benke is currently rehabbing from a strained hamstring, but has been a key contributor since his freshman year.
“They have all pitched very well for us this year,” Wendle said. “By in large, our pitching staff has done a good job controlling both sides of the plate and working ahead in counts. They have done a great job controlling the pace of the game, and making big pitches when the situation called for it.”
Stefanosky, West, and Benke are all juniors. “We have a nice, young, pitching staff that has a lot of future potential,” Wendle said.
The Oxford coach added that he just wants the team to focus on improving in all phases of the game.
“Our goal is to just get better—throughout the course of the game and throughout the course of the season,” Wendle said. “When we’re firing on all cylinders, we can play a pretty good game of baseball.”