MINGO JUNCTION — Aiden Fernandez was on top of his game.
The senior pitcher hurled seven strong innings, en route to a one-hit shutout as the Indian Creek baseball team blanked Buckeye Local, 8-0, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Muth Field.
The Redskins shut out the Panthers, 10-0, in six innings in the second contest to sweep the DH.
Fernandez struck out nine and walked two, en route to his second win of the season.
“Aiden has had two really good outings so far,” Indian Creek (4-1) head coach Mike Cottis said. “He pounded the zone. That is a step in the right direction. When they put the ball in play, we made the plays. That also is a step in the right direction.”
Fernandez struck out 10 and walked one in four innings of work in Indian Creek’s 10-3 season-opening victory against Beaver Local Monday at home.
The Panthers only had three batters reach base safely in the first contest on Saturday.
“You can tell how the game went by looking at the scoreboard,” Buckeye Local (0-5) head coach Jeffrey Patrick said. “We had one hit and two errors. You aren’t going to win baseball games when you do that. We had three total base runners, and you aren’t going to win baseball games when you do that.
“We are trying to get into a groove at the plate. We are trying to find consistency at the plate. Until we find that consistency, we are going to have a hard time putting runs up on the scoreboard.”
The Redskins supported Fernandez by scoring four runs in the second, one in the third and three more during the fifth. Indian Creek had a chance to end the game early, but the Redskins were unable to come through with the clutch hit.
Offensively, Aiden Orr recorded a two-run single. Came Franke and Vitali Amis each tallied a run-scoring single, while Isaiah Vandine and Nicolai Gryskevich each collected a base hit.
While Fernandez went the distance for the Redskins, the Panthers were forced to use three pitchers.
Ethan McHugh started and gave up five runs on four hits, while striking out one and walking five in 2 2/3innings of work. He was replaced by Gavyn Romanyak with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. Romanyak allowed one hit while striking out two and walking four in his 2 1/3 innings on the mound. Noah Kourim replaced Romanyak in the sixth and did not allow a run or a hit, while striking out one with no walks in his one inning of work.
McHugh had Buckeye Local’s lone hit — a single.
“It was a little bit of both,” Patrick said when asked if his team’s struggles at the plate were the result of the pitching by Fernandez or his team not having good at-bats. “He located well. He was able to mix pitches in low in the zone. He was able to find the strike zone. We also did not have good at-bats for the most part one through nine. We had a couple good at-bats, but we are going to need more if we want to win ballgames.”
After a scoreless first inning, Indian Creek came alive in the second, as the Redskins plated four runs to take control. Amis singled home a run in the third to increase Indian Creek’s advantage to 5-0.
“We want to win,” Patrick said. “Our kids are competitive. They don’t just want to play. They want to win. They have worked hard since February. We had open gym in January. The kids came in and hit by themselves. It is not enough to just play. We want to win games.”
Three Redskins scored on an error with the bases loaded in the fifth to cap the scoring.
“We put the ball in play, but we did not get enough hits with runners in scoring position,” Cottis said. “We had some extra chances. We got extra runs on that error. We have to do a better job offensively.”
Hunter Rothacker picked up the win in the second game for the Redskins. He did not allow a run, while giving up four hits, striking out five and not walking a batter.
Offensively, Indian Creek pounded out 12 hits — five of which went for extra bases. Corey Cottis collected a single, a double and two RBIs. Orr recorded two singles and two RBIs, and David Ferroni delivered a double and two RBIs. Jacob Wright tallied a double and an RBI, Fernandez singled, doubled and tripled and Connor Shultz singled twice.
The Panthers used four pitchers in Game 2. One of the four hits from them went for extra bases. Berry belted a double, and Tyler Donahue, Alan Burkett and McHugh all tallied a base hit.
The Redskins scored at least one run in all six innings they batted. They scored one in the first, two in the second and one in the third to take a 4-0 lead after three innings. Two runs in the fourth made the score 6-0, and another in the fifth increased their lead to 7-0. Indian Creek ended the game with three runs in the sixth.
“We want to win,” coach Cottis said. “We don’t just want to play. We have a competitive group. They are tight. They support each other. That is good to see.”
Indian Creek is scheduled to play Jefferson County rival Big Red at 5 p.m. Monday at home.
Buckeye Local is slated to play at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Toronto.
“Toronto is a good team,” Patrick said. “I told our kids this was the first game we did not have the lead. We lost to Harrison Central, 4-3, in our opener. We were up 3-2. We played them again Monday, and we were up 1-0 after the first. Then we played Martins Ferry, and we were up 2-0 after the first. This does not reflect the kind of team we have. We are going to compete.”
Indian Creek 8, Buckeye Local 0
Buckeye Local 0-0-0 0-0-0 0 — 0 1 2
Indian Creek 0-4-1 0-3-0 X — 8 5 0
BUCKEYE LOCAL (0-4): McHugh (LP, 2 2/3IP, 5R, 4H, 1K, 5BB), Romanyak (2 1/3IP, 3R, 1H, 2K, 4BB), Kourim (1IP, 0R, 0H, 1K, 0BB) and Scott. McHugh S.
INDIAN CREEK (3-1): Fernandez (WP, 7IP, 0R, 1H, 9K, 2BB) and Ferroni. Orr S, 2RBI; Franke S, RBI; Vandine S; Gryskevich S; Amis S, RBI.
Indian Creek 10, Buckeye Local 0
Buckeye Local 0-0-0 0-0-0 — 0 4 0
Indian Creek 1-2-1 2-1-3 — 10 12 2
BUCKEYE LOCAL (0-5): Burkett (LP, 3IP, 2K, 3BB), Hoover (1IP, 1K, 2BB), Olinski (1IP, 1K, 2BB), Berry (0IP, 0K, 0BB) and Scott. Berry D; Burkett S; McHugh S; Donahue S.
INDIAN CREEK (4-1): Rothacker (WP, 6IP, 0R, 4H, 5K, 0BB) and Ferroni; Orr 2S, 2RBI; Ferroni D, 2RBI; Fernandez S, D, T; Cottis S, D, 2RBI; Wright D, RBI; Shultz 2S; Vandine S.