Blue Devils blank Dragons, 4-0

By Paul Boggs -

PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — The Blue Devils’ revenge tour made a stop in Proctorville on Friday.

That’s because the Gallia Academy High School baseball team, in avenging yet another early Ohio Valley Conference loss, shut out the host Fairland Dragons 4-0.

The Blue Devils dialed up three runs on only one hit in the third inning, then John Stout’s solo home run in the top of the fourth added an insurance marker.

Meanwhile, Gallia Academy ace pitcher Josh Faro threw a five-hit complete-game dominant shutout, amassing an impressive 13 strikeouts against only a pair of walks.

Faro outdid Fairland ace Dylan Raines, as three of the Blue and White’s four runs were earned, while Raines walked only Cole Davis immediately after Stout’s home run.

He struck out three in also going the distance.

The win was important for the Blue Devils’ OVC championship hopes, as Gallia Academy —in winning its third consecutive contest —improved to 9-5 and 6-3 in the league.

In addition, in all three return tilts in as many days, Gallia Academy avenged its three one-run league losses (2-1 to South Point, 5-4 to Fairland and 1-0 to Ironton).

The Blue Devils doubled up South Point 8-4 on Wednesday, followed by capturing an 11-6 victory over Ironton on Thursday.

On Friday, Faro doused the Dragons by twice striking out the side 1-2-3 — in the first and fifth innings — before retiring the Dragons 1-2-3 in their final at-bat.

He struck out two batters apiece in the second, third and seventh stanzas —and faced four batters apiece in the second and third frames.

The Dragons did strand four runners at second base, as Raines and Zach Crawford collected two singles apiece.

Reilly Sowards singled in the fifth for Fairland’s only other hit, as the Dragons did the load the bases in the fourth with only one out.

Faro threw 100 total pitches, with 68 of them going for strikes.

Raines registered 104 pitches for Fairland, and retired nine of the opening 11 Blue Devils — minus singles by Dylan Smith in the second inning and by Faro in the third.

In the fourth, the Blue Devils combined — on their first four at-bats — Brody Thomas being hit by a pitch, Jeremy Brumfield bunting for a single, Kaden Thomas plating Brody Thomas on a fielder’s choice, and Smith scoring Brumfield on an error.

Braden Simms crossed Kaden Thomas on an RBI-groundout to make it 3-0.

In the fifth, Stout’s shot made it 4-0 —as Smith and Davis singled in the sixth and seventh respectively, and advanced to third base.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs