By Derrick Mahone
Ola pitcher Darryl Dickey missed the Mustangs' earlier season loss at Alcovy, but Monday he was a key figure in the win.
Aside from one bad pitch, Dickey practically owned the second-ranked Tigers in Ola's 6-1 victory at home in a Region 4-AAAA contest.
The senior went five innings, and give up only two hits and a run with a pair of strikeouts to help the Mustangs win their sixth straight game. With the win, Ola takes control of the region standings heading into its last three region contest.
If the Mustangs, who are 19-2 overall and 12-1 in the region, win out the remaining three region game, they will have the region's top seed going into the state playoffs. Both teams are 12-1 in the region after having split the series, but Ola's five-run win would give the Mustangs to the region title if they both win out.
This avenges the Mustangs' 6-5 loss in Covington on March 29, which Dickey sat out because of a suspension. Point differential is the tiebreaker for the championship.
For the game, Alcovy only had three hits. The one run was the Tigers lowest offensive output since a 3-0 loss to East Rowan, N.C., in the fourth game of the season. This was Alcovy's second straight loss aftera 5-4 setback to Class A Hebron Christian Academy on Saturday.
"This was a big, big win for us," Ola coach Ryan Parejko said. "It was a great job by our senior pitcher. He came up big when we needed him to lead the team. He only had one bad pitch, but he was definitely poised out there."
Said Dickey: "This was huge because they are out biggest competition in the region. This gives us the right momentum in the last half of the season."
In the second inning, Alcovy pitcher Beau Thomas sent a 1-0 fastball over the leftfield wall to give the Tigers the lead. It would be the Tigers only run of the game.
"It was a good swing by their batter," Dickey said. "I put it inside his hands and he got around on it. I had been working him outside on the corners, but came inside on that pitch."
Parejko sent A.J. Sunstrom to the mound in the sixth and he pitched 2/3 innings before closer Bobby Woodall came in to finish the game.
"I knew we had the game," Dickey said. "I was confidence because I had some good fielders behind me. It was just a matter of putting the ball in play, and letting the guys behind me do their job."
The Mustangs also got it done at the plate. Ola would take control of the game in the third inning with a 3-1 lead.
After Grant Perkins started the inning with a ground out to short, C.J. McDowell singled. Neal Candee would ground out to third to move McDowell to second. DaCota Cole single scored McDowell. Cole would score on a triple from Woodall, who would score on a single from Brad Blount to take a 3-1 lead.
"We usually start the game a little shaky with our hitting," Woodall said. "We have been taking some extra batting practice and it is starting to pay off."
Ola closes it region schedule with games against Mount Zion, North Clayton and Forest Park, who are the bottom three times of the region. The Mustangs end the regular season with non-region games against Pike County and Luella.
"We just need to keep our focus," Parejko said. "There is still a lot of season left."