By Derrick Mahone
With an important Region 4-AAAA game only three days away, fifth-ranked Ola could have easily overlooked Dutchtown Friday.
Instead, Ola looked like a team that was focused on the task at hand, rather than worrying about Monday's showdown with Alcovy, which pits the two best teams in the region against each other.
The Mustangs jumped to a five-run lead in the first two innings to cruise an 11-0 win over Dutchtown for their sixth straight win. It was the third time in the last six outings that the Mustangs game has gone less than seven innings because of the mercy rule.
Ola coach Ryan Parejko said he has preached all season to his team not to overlook anyone. It showed Friday.
"Every game is important for us," Mustangs pitcher Mike Venturelli said. "We have to come ready every time we have a game."
Venturelli got the win after going five innings and striking out 11 batters. He only gave up three hits to Dutchtown, which only had four base runners the entire game.
Ola had at least one hit in every inning to finish with 12 on the game.
"We needed a win like this heading into the Alcovy game," Parejko said. "We knew Dutchtown would be tough because they are fighting for a playoff spot. Hopefully the momentum will carry over into Monday."
Alcovy is ranked No. 2 in the state and won the earlier matchup 6-5 at home on March 29. Ola is a game behind Alcovy for the region's top seed going into the playoffs.
"We are definitely looking forward to that game," Venturelli said.
Dutchtown freshman Riley Presnell had a rough outing against the Mustangs as he last 3 1/3 innings while giving up five runs on five hits. He had four strikeouts.
Some of the Bulldogs troubles came with poor fielding. In the first inning, the first two Ola hitters hit foul balls that were mishandled by Dutchtown fielders. The two would get base hits and later score in the inning.
"They are a tough team, and they showed it," Dutchtown assistant David Dorn said. "If we had started a little different, it could have been a different game. I don't want to take anything away from Ola, because they earned the win. We just made too many mistakes against a good team like Ola."
Dorn was filling in for Dutchtown coach Michael Breedlove, who was serving the first of a two game suspension after getting ejected for the Bulldogs' 7-6 win against Henry County.
The Bulldogs are battling Griffin for the region's final playoff spot.
"We didn't play well as a team," Presnell said. "It was pretty disappointing. We just have to look forward to our last four region games, and hopefully get into the playoffs."