By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford Wildcats baseball program posted a 5-1 record from May 10-15 to improve to 20-6 (9-3 Oakland Activities Association Red Division) in 2021.
The first three games of the week were the league tilts, a sweep of the Rochester Falcons.
In the May 10 battle, which took place at Rochester High School, the Wildcats prevailed, 7-2, behind a complete game from senior right-hander Nolan Kutchey.
Standing at 5-0 in his six starts, Kutchey threw 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes, walked just two Falcons and struck out four.
Leading 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning, junior second baseman Tony Hatzigeorgiou delivered the biggest hit of the afternoon, a three-run double to the wall in center field, extending the lead to 6-2.
Returning home for the final two games of the set on May 12, Oxford received another terrific pitching performance in the first game, a 4-0 final, as senior left-hander Sean Cooper tossed a two-hitter, finishing with nine strikeouts.
Like Kutchey, Cooper is unbeaten this season, tallying a 3-0 record, 0.53 earned run average (ERA) and a team-high 36 strikeouts in five starts, spanning 26 innings.
Senior left fielder Brendan Moore went 3-for-3, drove in a run, scored twice, and stole three bases.
The last game of the Rochester series was the closest, as the Falcons took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fourth, but the Wildcats responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame and held on for the 6-5 victory.
Junior Eddie Bieniasz, a lefty, drew the start, allowing five runs, just three of which were earned, on five hits over three innings. Sophomore righty Owen Schihl, who picked up the win, delivered an outstanding relief performance, throwing four shutout innings, walking just a lone Falcon, and sitting down six on strikes.
Oxford recorded just five hits in the contest, scattered among four players. Senior second baseman Josh Brown provided a lift off the bench, pinch-hitting for classmate Joe Roeher in the fourth and finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored.
To round out their week, the Wildcats played three non-league road games, falling to the Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets, 4-3, on May 14, and winning both legs of a doubleheader with the Utica Chieftains, a member of the Macomb Area Conference, on May 15, by scores of 13-2 and 5-2.
Beginning their fifth OAA Red set of the season, Oxford hosted the Stoney Creek Cougars for a doubleheader on Monday and will complete the series with a road game on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Through these first 26 games, Hatzigeorgiou leads the team with a .446 batting average (21-for-47), while senior shortstop Ethan Burdua has posted a club-high 33 hits in his 79 at-bats, good for a .417 average, and paces the team in stolen bases with 18, as well.
Moore has driven in a team-best 23 runs, two more than Hatzigeorgiou.
As of this article’s publication, there are 10 games remaining in the regular season, but the Wildcats’ postseason draw has already been announced.
Oxford will compete in Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) District No. 31 at Lapeer High School, where they will be joined by the Clarkston Wolves, Davison Cardinals, Lake Orion Dragons, and host Lightning.
Clarkston and Davison will battle in a quarterfinal on June 1 at 4 p.m., with Oxford awaiting the winner in the semifinals on June 5 at 11 a.m.
Lake Orion and Lapeer will play in the other semifinal, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on June 5.
The district championship game will also be held on June 5, with the two semifinal winners squaring off at 4 p.m.
By Teddy Rydquist