Special to the Daily
Ola baseball coach Ryan Parejko is having a good time these days.
Behind solid defense and a balanced hitting attack, the Mustangs moved a step closer to claiming the Region 4-AAAA title with a six-inning, 12-2 victory over host Mt. Zion Friday evening.
With one week remaining in the regular season, the Mustangs own a two-game lead in the region, currently sporting a 17-4 overall record and a 12-1 region record.
"This is a very talented team," the coach said after Friday's win. "We're keeping focused and working hard on our goals. The guys are playing very smart baseball."
Ola scored in five of the six innings, only being shut down in the second.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the third, the Mustangs plated three on a three-run homer by catcher Brad Blount for a 4-0 lead.
Ola added five runs in the fourth inning with the help of three hits and three costly Mt. Zion errors.
Singles by David Dotterweich and Kyle Beech opened the inning. Dacota Cole hit a double-play ball to short, but all players were safe on an error by Mt. Zion's second baseman. Bobby Woodall brought home Dotterweich and Beech with a single. After Cameron Lewis walked, Darryl Dickey and Blount reached base on errors with runs scoring. Dickey also scored the fifth run on a wild pitch.
Beech doubled and scored on a flyout by Woodall in the fifth inning, and in the sixth, Andrew Dotterweich's single brought home Mike Venturelli and Drew Cox for the team's final runs.
Venturelli pitched the victory, while Mt. Zion's Drexel Copeland took the loss.
"Mike kept hitting his spots, and he trusts his defense. It was a good showing for him," Parejko added.
Mt. Zion scored a run in the third inning. With two outs, Kevin Almond tripled and scored on an error. Mark Threat also singled as the Bulldogs eventually had runners at second and third but could not score.
Miles Clark homered to left field for the Bulldogs' final run in the fourth inning.
The Bulldogs threatened in the fifth with two on with nobody out, but a flyout led to a double play. David Dotterweich caught the ball in right field and fired to second to Beech to catch the runner off base.
"We play smart defense, and the guys have hit the cutoff man very well," the coach added. "(Offensively,) We're moving guys around and that puts pressure on the defense. We're forcing errors and taking advantage of them."
Ola hosts Forest Park on Tuesday for a doubleheader before playing a key contest with Dutchtown on Wednesday in a battle of region title contenders.