GLEN DALE - Following a trip to Myrtle Beach, in which Oak Glen was sitting with a 5-9 record, Coach Matt Deveaney's Golden Bears have suddenly turned things around with a six-game winning streak.
With all-stater Bub Haddox leading the way again, Oak Glen made sure that streak continued Tuesday night against John Marshall.
Haddox fired a one-hitter, fanning 10 and walking two, and the Bears took advantage of an inopportune Monarchs error to score three unearned runs in the fourth inning in cruising to a 5-1 victory at Monarch Field.
The victory pushes Oak Glen's record to 11-9 while the Monarchs, led by assistant coach Roger Simmons on Tuesday, slid to .500 at 7-7.
"Going to the beach has really turned things around for us," Deveaney said. "We have won six in a row now and things have been going very well."
The Golden Bears scored a run in the top of the first, but things could have been a lot worse for the Monarchs. After a leadoff Alex Shuman single, Kyle Woodruff reached on a two-base error before Haddox was intentionally walked.
Alec Swiger's seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield plated Shuman for a 1-0 score. However, starting pitcher Schuyler Callihan fanned the next hitter before inducing a ground-ball double play on a 3-2 count to end the threat.
Oak Glen had chances in each of the first three innings, leaving runners in scoring position in all three, but coming away with just the one run.
The Bears extended the lead in the fourth, thanks in large part to John Marshall mistakes. Jakob Ford struck out but reached on a dropped third strike and an error at first with one down.
On a pitch in the dirt Ford took second on a third strike that should have been the third out in the inning. Shuman's run-scoring single made it 2-0.
That was followed by Woodruff's RBI bloop double and Haddox's booming, run-producing triple to left-center that made it a 4-0 Oak Glen advantage.
The Monarchs got a little help in the bottom of the fourth when Trevor Hardesty walked with one out, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and continued home when the catcher's throw to first on a third strike was off line to cut the deficit to 4-1.
A leadoff error, John Marshall's third, led to another run in the seventh when Tyler Click and pinch-hitter Michael Campbell followed with singles to make it a 5-1 margin.
In all, Oak Glen stranded 11 runners, eight in scoring position, while the Monarchs had a few chances as well, leaving runners in scoring position in four consecutive innings.
"That has been our story recently, we have been putting a lot of runners on base and not always getting a big hit, but doing a good job of taking advantage of the other team's mistakes," Deveaney said. "And at the same time not letting them take advantage of ours.
"The big thing right now is that even on bad days when we haven't played as well as we should, we are playing well enough to win."
Haddox threw 91 pitches while losing pitcher Callihan went the distance and took a loss, with four Oak Glen runs being unearned. Callihan threw 105 pitches, 72 for strikes, whiffing five and walking three.
"Haddox pitched a heck of a game," Simmons said. "He was just all around the plate and threw plenty of strikes. But we have to be able to record outs when they present themselves and we have struggled doing that sometimes.
"Our kids played hard and competed, but Oak Glen has one of the nicest teams I have seen them have in a while. This was the type of game that you knew going in runs might be at a premium, so you can't give up easy ones.
"I think Callihan pitched a very nice game for us as well. He battled, made pitches when he needed to and did an overall good job out there."
John Marshall's only hit was a two-out double off the bat of Matt Zelic in the third.