RAYLAND - Neither coach had much to complain about following Saturday's Buckeye 8 Conference doubleheader in Rayland.
In the opener, John Patrone's Bellaire Big Reds overcame five errors and rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh for a 2-1 victory over host Buckeye Local.
Panthers' rookie skipper C.J. Besece then shuffled the deck, making second game wholesale lineup changes. His club responded with a 4-3 win to gain the split.
"We started three freshmen and two sophomores and our young kids played well," Besece said. "We fell behind but battled back and with the game on the line, we pulled it out."
Patrone, meanwhile, felt fortunate after his Big Reds dodged an array of bullets to capture Saturday's opener.
"You're pretty lucky to win making that many mistakes," he exclaimed. "We did get a good pitching effort, then came up with some clutch hits."
Bellaire came out of the split at 9-6. The Big Reds play Monday at St. Clairsville. Buckeye will take a 4-13 ledger into Monday's home encounter with Indian Creek.
Buckeye was a 1-0 leader in Saturday's opener, the result of an Eric Banal base hit. Junior righthander Austin Marshall headed to the hill for the top of the seventh with a 1-0 advantage.
Bellaire, though, got off the deck with senior Nick McMahon reaching on a leadoff single. Junior Dalton Conroy then came through with a game-tying single.
Following a Brady Hall base knock, frosh leftfielder Bralen Snell accounted for the go-ahead tally with a clutch hit.
Buckeye threatened in its final at-bat, placing the tying and go-ahead runners on base before sophomore righthander Nick Patrone recorded the final out.
Patrone was sharp in a complete-game three-hit outing. He fanned five and spaced four walks. Marshall was also outstanding, permitting but five hits. The Panthers' junior compiled eight Ks and but one walk.
"We let that one slip away, so coming back in the second game was definitely huge," Besece confirmed.
Bellaire involved in a 2-2 lockup entering the last of the fifth when Buckeye responded with two.
Sophomore Jonathon Borkowski singled to left, accounting for the go-ahead tally before junior Brian Zeroski followed with a base rap to left for a 4-2 lighting.
Bellaire reduced the deficit to a single run via a sixth inning sacrifice fly off the bat of Hall which plated sophomore Spencer Badia. But Panthers' junior reliever Lucas Ostovich was able to strand two Reds' baserunners and close out the frame.
In the Bellaire seventh, Ostovich recorded a 1-2-3 inning to secure the verdict.
"Buckeye's a much better team than its record indicates," Bellaire's skipper advised. "All in all, we'll take the split and keep working to get better."
Zeroski produced a 3-for-3 second game outing. Southpaw starter Chase Hopkins was solid in recording the mound decision.
Hall absorbed the setback with Badia coming on in relief.