Gallery: Chiefland Defeats Vanguard 5-2

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Posted March 14, 2023 | Article by Allen Barney
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

The Chiefland Indians (6-3) avenged a season-opening loss to the Vanguard Knights (6-4) on March 14 by taking advantage of multiple errors by the Knights defense and solid pitching to win 5-2.

“It’s a good win for us because they beat us at our place to start the season, so hopefully that means we are getting better,” Chiefland head coach Chad Brock said.

Vanguard starting pitcher CT Antonucci ran into trouble in the top of the first inning after giving up two singles with no outs. After coming back to get the first two outs, Antonucci had a fastball get away from him and get by the catcher to allow Chiefland’s Saia Wilson to score from third.

Vanguard had an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the first after Adam Oxendine singled to left and stole second base but was left stranded after a popout and a double play.

Chiefland added a second run on a run-scoring single to center from Colton Brown to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. The Knights rallied in the bottom half of the inning with a run on a throwing error from Chiefland starting pitcher Seth Campbell.

Campbell bounced back against the next hitter and induced his second double play in as many innings to keep Chiefland ahead.

Chiefland extended their lead to 4-1 in the top of the third on a run-scoring double to center by Luke Watkins and a sacrifice fly to right by Wade Gore.

Campbell retired the side in order in the bottom of the third and Antonucci followed suit in the top of the fourth inning. Vanguard threatened to close the gap in the bottom of the fourth after a single by Kevin Campbell, a walk by Noah Wood and a single by Adam Oxendine to load the bases with two outs.

Campbell escaped the jam by forcing Jake Wells to fly out to center field. Adam Oxendine came on in relief for Antonucci and fired a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fifth for Vanguard. Chiefland’s Taylor Brown also retired the side in order during the home half of the fifth inning.

Oxendine ran into a heap of trouble in the top of the sixth as he walked Gore and hit the next two hitters to load the bases with one out. Gore scored on a pass ball by Oxendine to give Chiefland a 5-1 lead before the senior right-hander forced a double play to end the inning.

Brown threw another clean inning of relief to keep Chiefland’s lead at four runs heading into the seventh inning. Oxendine fired a scoreless seventh, his third inning of work following Antonucci’s start.

Vanguard started off the bottom of the seventh with momentum as Wood was hit by a pitch and Oxendine drew a walk. Following a strikeout, Brock brought in Wilson to close out the game.

Antonucci singled off Wilson to load the bases but Luke Oxendine struck out looking to keep the bases loaded. Jordan Volker drew a two-out walk to drive in a run, but Wilson buckled down to strike out Kylin Carter on a fastball to seal the win.

The pitching for Chiefland avoided big innings and allowed their defense to work throughout the game to get the win.

“We threw a lot of strikes. Seth didn’t look as crisp on the mound, but he competed and gave us a chance to win. Taylor and Sai did a great job coming in by pumping strikes and inducing some ground balls. Pitching has been the backbone of our team and we hope to continue pitching well,” Brock said.

The disappointing loss for Vanguard gave head coach Scott Schaub an opportunity to reiterate a part of the game he and his staff have been preaching all season.

“Timely hitting has been our style of baseball every game and today showed how important it is to our hitting. We lacked the big hit today to get our momentum going like we have all season,” Schaub said.

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