CENTENARY, Ohio — Before leaving the home dugout every night, the Gallia Academy baseball team sees a sign above the door that simply asks, “How do you want to be remembered?”
The Blue Devils secured a big piece of their 2012 legacy Wednesday night, as the Blue Devils captured their second consecutive Southeastern Ohio Athletic League outright championship following a 4-1 triumph over visiting Jackson at Bob Eastman Ball Field in Gallia County.
The Blue Devils (15-5, 8-0 SEOAL) won their 10th consecutive league game since losing to the Ironmen (5-3 SEOAL) last spring by an 8-6 count at JHS. It’s also the third SEOAL crown under ninth-year skipper Rich Corvin, who also led GAHS to the 2006 SEOAL baseball title.
Gallia Academy never trailed in the contest, as Jimmy Clagg doubled home three runs in the bottom of the third for a commanding 3-0 edge. GAHS added a run in the fifth for a 4-0 cushion, but Jackson countered with an unearned run in the sixth to complete the scoring at 4-1.
The Blue Devils outhit the guests by a slim 5-4 margin, but the Ironmen also committed three of the four errors in the contest. GAHS starter Justin Bailey was also masterful against Jackson, as the junior allowed just six baserunners and zero walks over seven frames while fanning 14.
Bailey was the winning pitcher of record, while Aaron Abrams took the loss for JHS after surrendering three earned runs and four walks over six innings while striking out three.
Corvin — who also guided the 2009 Blue Devils to an SEOAL South title before finishing second to Warren that season — noted afterwards that it was nice to be league champions again, especially from such a defensive standpoint. Corvin also commented that the season, even with league title in hand, is still far from over.
“We got some really good pitching tonight from Justin. When he’s going well, we are all going well,” Corvin said. “We struggled with the bats a little bit tonight in producing only five hits, but it was still more than enough.
“It’s a nice feeling for everyone in the program to repeat as champions, but we still have a lot games to play to get where we want to be. We’ll celebrate tonight and get back to work tomorrow.”
When asked about remaining goals for this group, Corvin wasted little time in responding to what is still out there for these Devils to get.
“We want to win 20 games. That’s our new goal at this point, because it’s never been done here,” Corvin said. “I’ve never had a team go unbeaten in league play, and that’s important, but we want to reach 20 wins. We are five short right now and have two weeks to play, so we need to keep this going. And that’s without even mentioning our postseason goals.”
Clagg, Bailey, John Faro, Brandon Taylor and Zach Thomas each provided a hit for the victors. Bobby Dunlap also drove in an RBI and Bailey scored twice in the triumph.
Cole Massie and Tyler Neal both had two safeties apiece for Jackson. Wyant scored the lone run for the Ironmen.