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Strong Pitching Lifts OCHS Baseball Team in Tournament Opener

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Ocean City relief pitcher Nolan Bouchard closes out the game with three straight strikeouts. (Photos and video by Andrew Fasy)

By ANDREW FASY

The fifth-ranked Ocean City High School Red Raiders baseball team began the South Jersey Group 3 State Tournament by beating 12th-ranked Cumberland Regional High School on Thursday.

Ocean City entered the tournament with a 17-7 record. The Cumberland Colts came in with a 9-12 record. The Red Raiders prevailed, 4-1, to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Travis Large was the starting pitcher for Ocean City and went five strong innings, giving up only one run in the fifth inning.

Ocean City’s bats started early, as they loaded the bases in the first inning, but didn’t tally any runs that inning.

Red Raiders celebrate their win.

Ocean City’s Evan Taylor led off the third inning with a double. Colin Thompson then walked. Both runners advanced on a fake bunt/steal. Matt Pashley scored both runners on a two-RBI single, then scored on a double by Cam Street.

“We played ‘small ball’ all game, as we have all season. We found success with that game plan this season,” Ocean City Head Coach Andrew Bristol said. “We try to capitalize on all of our opportunities.”

Cumberland scored a run in the top of the fifth to cut Ocean City’s lead to two runs. The Red Raiders answered in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single by center fielder Eddie Wisham.

That would be all Ocean City needed, as Nolan Bouchard came to the mound in the top of the seventh to close the game. Bouchard ended the game with three straight strikeouts.

Ocean City starting pitcher Travis Large.

Cumberland Regional Coach Kyle Daddario said he was proud of his team’s effort, but noted that “Ocean City had good energy early and their pitching was real good.”

“They capitalized on their situations, and we didn’t. That’s the game of baseball,” Daddario said.

The victory will lead Ocean City to a showdown with the Delsea Regional High School Crusaders. Delsea is ranked fourth in the NJSIAA State Group 3 Tournament and seventh overall in the state, according to NJ.com. The game will be played at Delsea on Wednesday, May 29.

“We will have all of our pitchers available, so we’ll be ready,” Bristol said.

First base coach Ed Terry talks with a player.