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Breaking out

Butler BlueSox pitcher Trent Bielak throws the ball to first base during Wednesday’s 12-5 loss to the Butler Iron Bucks at Pullman Park. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle
Iron Bucks use bats to key 12-5 win over BlueSox

Despite a good record, the Butler Iron Bucks have been leaving things a little too close for comfort for manager Shawn Manning.

The team won its previous four contests by a combined nine runs, so Manning was pleased to see the offense break out in Wednesday’s Tri-State Collegiate Baseball League game at Pullman Park.

The Bucks overcame an early deficit with three runs in the second inning, beginning a string of six straight frames of plating at least one run, in defeating the Butler BlueSox 12-5.

Cooper Baxter of the Iron Bucks runs to third base while BlueSox shortstop Seth Helgert throws the ball during the baseball game at Pullman Park on Wednesday in Butler. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle 6/22/22

“Our offense has struggled at times this season. We won a couple of games last weekend (by scores of) 5-2 and 4-3, so scoring 12 runs is not typical.”

The BlueSox jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead thanks to Andrew Bokulich’s lead-off triple in the bottom of the first, followed by Korey Shoupe’s RBI-groundout and Quinn Burke’s solo home run.

It was a good start for the Sox (3-9), but they would not score again against Bucks’ starter Greg Geis, who blanked them over the next four innings.

“He was working a little more off his slider tonight than his fastball,” said Manning.

The Bucks’ three-run second frame was aided by a throwing error and a hit-batsman by Sox starting pitcher Trent Bielak. They added a run in the third before the offense tallied eight runs on eight hits over the next four frames.

Josh Probst, Cooper Baxter and Dom Fellowes each tallied two hits in the victory. Brent Creehan’s one hit in the game was a two-run triple in the top of the sixth that gave his team a 10-2 lead.

“We’re a young team,” said Sox manager Dan Helgert. “We’re only losing two guys, so most of the team will be back next year. We have to take our lumps right now.”

The Sox added three runs in their half of the sixth, including Shoupe’s single that scored Justin Branigan.

Five pitchers for the Bucks — Geis, Ian Balquist, Robby Randolph, Jared Bees and Danny Fox — did their part by combining to walk just one batter in the game.

“Our staff has shown pretty good control this year,” said Manning. “They all have confidence in their stuff and are getting work in between starts.”

Joey Woodrow of the BlueSox hits a foul ball during the baseball game against the Iron Bucks at Pullman Park on Wednesday in Butler. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle 6/22/22

The Iron Bucks improved to 9-4 with the victory.

Brayden Hagerter and Sean Connolly worked the final 3 1/3 innings on the mound for the BlueSox.

Iron Bucks 031 213 200 — 12 10 1

BlueSox 200 003 000 — 5 6 5

W: Greg Geis 5 IP (2K, 0BB). L: Trent Bielak 5.2 IP (7K, 4BB).

Iron Bucks: Brent Creehan 3B 2RBI, Josh Probst 2-1B RBI, Cooper Baxter 2-1B R, Mike Sittig 2B 2R RBI, Dom Fellowes 2-1B R 2RBI

BlueSox: Andrew Bokulich 1B 3B, Korey Shoupe 1B R 2RBI, Quinn Burke HR 2RBI

Saturday: Iron Bucks at 3B Barons (Neshannock H.S.)

Tuesday: BlueSox at DuBois