By Lance Field
Special to the Daily Herald
About the only opponent the Ola baseball team has had trouble with lately is Mother Nature. The recent rains have severely cut into practice time for the Mustangs.
You wouldn't know it looking at their record however. Coach Ryan Parejko's club brought an eight-game winning streak into Friday night's game with Mt. Zion, not to mention sole possession of first place in Region 4-AAAA.
The Mustangs extended their winning streak to nine games with a 17-2 four-inning win over the Bulldogs. Ola now boasts a perfect 7-0 region mark near the halfway point in the season.
Mt. Zion jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Marc Threat lined a two-out single to right. Threat eventually advanced to third on a wild-pitch and passed ball. Joel Williams then plated Threat with an RBI double to give the Bulldogs an early lead.
That lead however was short lived. In the bottom of the first, Drew Cox ripped a one-out single to center. Bobby Woodall followed with a towering home run to centerfield to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
Threat ended the inning in spectacular fashion for Mt. Zion as he made a diving catch in shallow center field that saved at least two runs.
Ola added to its lead in the bottom of the second, as Bulldogs starter Myles Clark had trouble finding the strike zone. After Dacota Cole singled to leadoff the inning, Clark issued a walk to Kyle Beech. After Cole stole second and third, a Clark balk scored him.
The second walk of the inning proved costly when Cameron Lewis singled to give Ola a 4-1 lead. The Mustangs added two more runs to take a 6-1 lead into the top of the third.
Brandon Mapp helped engineer a run for the Bulldogs when he reached on an error to open the third inning. Mapp eventually scored to cut the lead to 6-2.
Clark issued two more walks in the home half of the third that helped Ola extend its lead to 9-2.
Mt. Zion coach Art Wilkerson went to his bullpen in the bottom of the fourth, but reliever Rummel Victor fared no better than Clark. Cole took Victor deep for a two-run home run and Ola batted around in the inning that saw them put eight runs up on the scoreboard.
After the game Parejko said he's happy with the position his team is in.
"We knew it was going to be tough going from Class AAA to Class AAAA this year," he said. "There are a lot of tough teams in this region, but our kids have worked really hard and I always tell them good things happen when you work hard."
Mt. Zion now takes on Stockbridge Saturday, while Ola travels to Forest Park Monday.