CHILLICOTHE — After winning a Division IV regional title last year, enduring offseason workouts and welcoming new head coach Anthony Knittel to the program, Minford looks like it’s already in midseason form this spring.
The Falcons, who swept Jackson in a doubleheader this past Saturday to begin their season, kept the ball rolling Tuesday night in a 10-0 win over Circleville at VA Memorial Stadium.
So far this season, Minford (3-0) has outscored its opponents 30-7. The sky’s the limit for this year’s team.
“Our ultimate goal is to win a state championship this year,” Knittel said. “We got our feet wet [in the state tournament] last year and came up short. But these kids have put in the work this offseason. We just have to take care of what’s in front of us. We’ve got our team goals that we’ve set, and we’ve got to take it one pitch and one at-bat at a time.”
Minford’s Elijah Vogelsong got the win on the bump Tuesday, throwing five innings of two-hit baseball while striking out six.
The only time Vogelsong was in trouble came in the fourth inning when Circleville (0-2) drew two walks and singled to load the bases. The lefty struck out two straight to end the scoring threat.
“Elijah is just a competitor,” Knittel said. “Everything he does, he goes one-hundred percent. I think from what he’s done in the offseason to mentally and physically prepare … that translated to the mound tonight. He commanded the zone, in and out, up and down, and worked ahead. He stayed ahead of hitters and good things happened.”
While he mowed down the Tigers’ lineup, Vogelsong also received plenty of run support. The Falcons scored two in the second, four in the third and three in the fourth, taking a 9-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Vogelsong singled and scored on an RBI triple via Ethan Lauder to send fans home after just five innings. All in all, Minford pounded out eight hits while taking advantage of four Tiger errors.
“We preach execution to these kids,” Knittel said. “We’ve just got to execute. The kids came out and did that tonight. Hats off to Circleville, though. Even though we did ten-run rule them, that’s a great team. You’re going to see them go far in the tournament at the end of the season. But as far as our kids, they just came out and took care of business and did what they had to do.”
At the dish, Vogelsong finished 2-for-3 with two runs while Luke Lindamood was 1-for-1 with a triple, two walks and two runs. Reid Schultz ended the day 1-for-3 with a double, a run and two RBIs, and Bailey Rowe was 2-for-2 with an RBI.
The Falcons get right back at it Wednesday evening in SOC II action, traveling to Oak Hill.
“Oak Hill comes in day in and day out and competes,” Knittel said. “They’re going to come to get us and give us their best shot. We’ve got our so-called number one on the mound [in Ethan Lauder] and he’s been locating well. We’re just going to come out and control what we can control. Everything else will take care of itself.”