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Butler BlueSox well-rounded in lopsided win over Kiski Valley

The BlueSox’ Conor Carney makes a diving catch against Kiski Valley during a North American Baseball Alliance inter-league game at Michelle Krill Field at Historic Pullman Park on Wednesday. The BlueSox won, 12-4. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

If Wednesday night is any indication, the BlueSox have found their blueprint.

Starting hurler Brett McSparran scattered four runs, nine of 10 batters in his side’s lineup reached base and the hosts dispatched visiting Kiski Valley, 12-4, in North American Baseball Alliance inter-league play.

The convincing victory at Michelle Krill Field at Historic Pullman Park was a welcome sign for the BlueSox (4-6), who entered the contest at the foot of the Rust Belt League standings.

“We started slow,” BlueSox manager Mike McNabb said. “We’ve got great defense and great pitching all year. We just didn’t get our bats going quick enough, but they’re coming around. Tonight we hit some incredibly hard balls.

“We got more barrels on balls tonight than we did all year.”

Conor Carney and Colin Solinski both had a pair of doubles, accounting for one-third of the BlueSox’s base knocks.

The Vikings (3-6) were without their starting backstop. Because of that, Kiski Valley manager Denny Montgomery said that he came close to telling the BlueSox that his team needed to re-schedule.

“The young man that went back there (Gian DeGenova, regular third baseman), I don’t know when the last time he caught (was),” Montgomery said. “He gets a pass. He did a great job. I give him credit for coming out in 95-degree heat and catching.

“Our problem is tonight we gave up a free extra 90 (feet). That’s not normal for us. ... Our softest thrower is 2-1. That should tell everybody else something. Throw it over the plate.”

In total, the Vikings’ pitchers walked eight and plunked three. Three of the free passes were issued by starter Cameron Foy in the opening frame.

“When you out-hit the other team and they’ve score more runs than they’ve got hits, something’s wrong,” Montgomery said. “What’s wrong is we’re putting too many free passes on base. Just too many walks and hit batters.”

The BlueSox’ McSparran walked Jake Despot to begin the game, then consecutive hits by Knoch grad Brady Wozniak and Mike Bittinger staked Kiski Valley to a 2-0 lead.

“He was a little shaky in the first, but I knew he was going to settle down,” McNabb said of McSparran. “Everything starts with pitching.”

The BlueSox brought nine to the dish in the bottom fourth. Sean Connolly, Zach Johnston, Carney, and Solinski each had hits in that inning, helping score six and jump ahead 10-2.

“A ton of base runners on either walks (or) hit batsmen,” McNabb said. “They had to go through some pitches there and we made them throw a lot of pitches.”

Kiski Valley 200 100 100 — 4 9 1

BlueSox 202 601 10x — 12 8 1

W: Brett McSparran 7IP (7K, 3BB). L: Cameron Foy 3.1IP (2K, 4BB)

Kiski Valley (3-6): Jake Despot R, Brady Wozniak 2B R, Mike Bittinger 2-1B 2RBI, Gian DeGenova 2B 1B R, Jake Stallsmith 1B, Brody Lavigne 1B R, Payton Bennett 2B 1B RBI

BlueSox (4-6): Sean Connolly 2B RBI 2R, Ben Aftanas RBI R, Zach Johnston 1B RBI 2R, Trent Bielak 2B RBI 4R, Joey Woodrow R, Conor Carney 2-2B 4RBI, Justin Brannigan 1B RBI, Colin Solinski 2-2B R, Chase Vrabel R

Saturday: BlueSox at Kiski Valley

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