EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Coming into Wednesday afternoon’s key Ches-Mont League American Division clash between visiting Oxford and host Unionville, it figured to be a pitching duel. Each team had its ace on the mound: Sean Matson for Unionville, and Joey Morton for Oxford
Things did not go as planned.
Each pitcher lasted just three innings, and it was Oxford reliever Ryan Dewees who was the dominant hurler as the Hornets’ junior pitched four scoreless innings, striking out six Longhorns, as Oxford stayed unbeaten in the Ches-Mont League with a 10-6 win.
Oxford (3-0 Ches-Mont, 3-1 overall) banged out 11 hits against three Unionville pitchers with sophomore Danny Wyatt hitting a long three-run homer and Tyler Harris adding two more hits. But with Oxford trailing the Longhorns (1-2, 1-2) by a run after three innings, Dewees came in, and when Oxford took the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, he shut the door on the potent Unionville attack.
“I felt real good out there today,” Dewees said. “My fastball was really live and I was mostly using that to pound the strike zone and I was getting outs with the fastball. I mixed in a few curveballs to keep them off balance and that was working well also. And it is great to pitch for this team because you know these guys are going to hit and score runs.”
Unionville scored runs in the each of the first three innings off Morton with Jack Regenye hitting a triple in the first inning and a big two-run double in the second frame. But, Oxford also was pounding the Longhorns ace, Matson. The Hornets scored three runs in the top of the third inning when Wyatt took a fastball the opposite way to right field for a three-run homer and a temporary 5-4 lead. But in the bottom of the third inning, Unionville plated two runs, courtesy of two Hornets errors, and after three innings Unionville had a 6-5 edge.
“We wanted to keep Joey in there but he was having trouble locating the strike zone today,” Oxford coach Tim Rector said. “We said if we get it tied or take the lead we were going to go to Ryan. He is a real finished product. He went right after the hitters and this team can score runs. All season long we have been hot so far from top to bottom in the lineup. Danny Wyatt is just a sophomore and he really put a charge into that home run and he had three hits for us.”
Oxford took the lead for good in the top the fourth inning. Harris led off with a single and went to second on a ground ball by Caleb O’Connor. Tim Haftl singled in Harris to tie the game and Connor Reilly put Oxford ahead with an RBI single to center field and Oxford had a 7-6 edge.
That would be all Dewees would need, as he threw four near perfect innings, not walking a batter and striking out six Unionville hitters. But Dewees would get some more help from his Hornets teammates in the top the seventh inning.
Oxford broke the game open against Nick Diehl as the Hornets scored three runs on two hits and gave Dewees some breathing room for the bottom of the seventh at 10-6. Dewees said those insurance runs made him feel a whole lot better going out for the bottom of the seventh.
“Those runs in the seventh were huge for me,” Dewees said. “It took the pressure away and I could go right after the hitters without worrying about a mistake.”
Unionville went down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning with Dewees striking out two Longhorns.
“I think our energy was super high and we may have been too aggressive at the plate,” Unionville coach Chris Valis said. “But, our energy got us the lead early and I just love the way our team plays the game.”
Oxford 10, Unionville 6
Oxford 023 200 3 – 10
Unionville 132 000 0 – 6
2B-Harris, J.Regenye. 3B-J.Regenye. HR-Wyatt.