CENTENARY, Ohio — Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they pled the fifth on Tuesday.
As in the fifth inning.
That’s because the Gallia Academy High School baseball team witnessed visiting Athens erupt for four fifth-inning runs, but Blue Devil mistakes cost them in a 6-2 non-league loss at Gallia Academy High School’s Robert Eastman Ballfield.
Gallia Academy amounted single runs in the opening and fourth innings, as Athens did the same in the second and third frames.
But the Bulldogs burst out for four runs in the top of the fifth, and batted around in the inning — en route to the added-game win.
The Blue Devils committed all three of their errors in the inning, one of which was a balk by starting pitcher Kaden Thomas.
Athens, which cranked out a dozen hits including 10 off Thomas, amassed three hits in the at-bat —including singles by Brendan Sano and Brody Rogers, and a Joseph Thomas RBI-triple.
The Bulldogs also mixed in a sacrifice fly, a passed ball, and a walk to Nate Trainer in the frame.
With the victory, Athens raised its record to a stellar 17-3, while the Blue Devils dipped to 13-8.
The contest, coming one day after Gallia Academy captured its second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championship, was a makeup matchup from earlier in the year.
Kaden Thomas pitched the first four innings for Gallia Academy and suffered the loss, as five of the six runs he allowed were earned.
He walked only one and struck out two, as Quinton Yarger relieved him for the final three innings — and allowed only two hits and two walks with one strikeout.
Waylon Bradbury tossed a complete-game five-hit gem for the Bulldogs, as he walked three and struck out four in throwing 110 total pitches.
He retired the Blue Devils 1-2-3 in the third and fifth frames, and faced four batters apiece in the second and sixth.
Gallia Academy drew first blood when John Stout singled to lead off the first, then scored on a Garrett McGuire triple.
But Bradbury stranded McGuire at third, as he also did to Tanner Allen, who doubled in the second for GAHS.
Braden Simms, who walked and advanced on a wild pitch, was left at second.
In the fourth, Dylan Smith and Allen were both hit by pitches with one out, as Smith scored on an RBI-single by Simms.
But Bradbury, after issuing a walk to Stout, left the bases loaded.
Allen, on a single in the sixth, accounted for the only other Blue Devil basehit.
Sano, Rogers, Thomas, Trainer and Andy Kostival collected two hits apiece for Athens.
In the second, Rogers doubled to lead off before Thomas drove him in with a two-bagger of his own.
In the third, Kostival roped a one-out double, before Sano scored him to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.
The Blue Devils return home, and conclude their regular season, when they host Point Pleasant on Thursday.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106