Oak Hall in dugout
The red-hot Oak Hall Eagles have scored 78 runs in their first six games, 27 of which came in a blowout win over St. John Lutheran on March 8.

Oak Hall Dominates St. John Lutheran to Secure Season Sweep

It did not take very long for the Oak Hall Eagles to get their groove back. After a tough loss to the Villages last Monday, Oak Hall responded with a monstrous outing against the St. John Lutheran Saints on Wednesday. In perhaps one of their most lopsided games in program history, the Eagles took home a 27-2 victory in just 3 1/2 innings.

Jackson Beach continued his hot start to the 2023 campaign with another perfect day at the plate. Beach went 4-for-4 in the batter’s box, knocking out a double and a home run along the way. He also finished with four runs, two RBIs and one stolen base. Beach currently ranks top-10 in the nation in batting average.

Darion Medley also snagged a home run for the Eagles, albeit an inside-the-park one. Jack Kuzmicki chipped in with a pair of triples and five runs batted in. Emory Ezzell and Gavin Jones both finished with multi-hit outings for Oak Hall as well.

Jones went on to secure the win on the mound for the Eagles. In his first career start, he combined with Ezzell for a no-hitter through four innings. Jones pitched the first two, only allowing a single walk while striking out two batters. Ezzell then wrapped things up in the final two innings, surrendering a pair of walks and a pair of runs (though neither were earned).

Oak Hall Explodes In The First Inning

Having already beat the Saints earlier this season, the Eagles felt fairly confident entering Wednesday’s game. Gavin Jones kicked things off on the mound with a pop out, followed by two swift strikeouts. He only needed 13 pitches to take care of business and keep the Saints off the board in the first inning.

“Playing a team like that, you just have to stay within yourself,” Jones said. “I just tried to stay consistent within the zone, throw strikes and fill it up.”

It did not take Oak Hall long to crack the game open in the bottom of the first. Jackson Beach led off with a powerful ground-rule double that most of the dugout thought would end up a homer. He still found his way home following a stolen base and a wild pitch.

After Harrison Beach walked, Kuzmicki knocked in his first triple of the day. One at-bat later, he made it home on a sacrifice hit from Medley. After a ground out in the following plate appearance, Oak Hall led 3-0 with two outs on the board. They then proceeded to punch in nine straight runs before the inning ended.

A hit-by-pitch for Jones. A line drive into center by Neil Ruth. A knock into left field by Ezzell. A ground ball single for Brody Beaupre. The Eagles lead jumped from three to six runs. And they were still far from done.

Beach Knocks Out Another Bomb

Jackson Beach reentered the batter’s box for his second at-bat of the inning. This time, he only needed one pitch. Beach immediately swung and blasted another ball over the right field fence.

While Beach has always been a steady source of offense for Eagles, his newfound power at the plate has turned him into even more of an all-around threat.

“I’ve just been trying to stay in my game,” Beach said. “I think I’ve been a little more aggressive this year… In the offseason, I was hitting the gym a lot, trying to get stronger everyday, and I think it’s paid off.”

After three consecutive Oak Hall batters were hit by pitches, Jack Steen belted out a three-RBI double to lift the lead to double-digits. Jones capped off the inning with a pop fly single to score Steen. By the time the Saints managed to secure the third out, the Eagles lead sat at 12-0.

The Eagles Continue Piling On

Jones once again made quick work of the Saints in the top of the second. Despite the Saints leading off with a walk, they quickly lost their runner following a beautiful double play from the Eagles infield. After landing another man on base via a fielding error, St. John Lutheran went back down following a pop out to second base.

Oak Hall proceeded to load the bases right away in the bottom of the inning. Beaupre walked while Jackson and Harrison Beach both singled. Kuzmicki then knocked out a sacrifice fly to score Beaupre. After a few moments of confusion on the basepaths, the umpire called Jackson Beach out at second for not tagging up. This put the Eagles at two outs relatively early in the inning.

Nevertheless, they did not go down for a long time after that. Medley followed up with a deep hit into right center. As Harrison Beach jogged home, Medley continued picking up speed as he rounded the bases. Eventually, he turned the corner from third and made a break for the plate. By the time he crossed home, the Saints had still not even managed to get the ball back into the infield.

“Off the bat, I knew it was a good hit,” Medley said. “As I watched it go, I rounded first and got a good start on it. Coach kept on sending me, so I did my job and ran through.”

Things just got uglier for the Saints as the afternoon went on. Eight of the Eagles’ next ten at-bats resulted in either a walk or a runner reaching first on an error. The two exceptions came on a triple for Jones and a single for Taylor Brown. Brown entered the game midway through the inning as a substitute for Medley.

Oak Hall Completes The Sweep

After the dust had settled in the second, Oak Hall led St. John Lutheran by a whopping 22-0. The Saints did manage to score a pair of runs in the third inning off of a passed ball and an Eagles error, respectively. However, another ground out into a double play prevented them from doing any more damage.

Despite their already commanding lead, the Eagles put together another strong offensive outing in the third. They led off the bottom of the inning with four consecutive hits, including a double from Ezzell and a pop fly RBI single for backup catcher Cameron Currier. Kuzmicki later tallied his second triple of the day to drive in another three runs. He made it home himself one at-bat later on a sacrifice ground out from Brown.

The Eagles had already begun to put on the brakes with the game out of hand. Nevertheless, their bats continued to stay hot even after their shift in game plan.

“We stop stealing and don’t go on passed balls,” Kuzmicki said. “But if we’re hitting the ball, there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Following a quick fourth inning on the mound for Ezzell, Oak Hall clinched their four inning run-rule victory. Needless to say, Eagles head coach Kevin Maris was more than pleased with his squad’s performance.

“It’s nice to have a bit of a lighter game every once in a while,” Maris said. “I thought our guys took the at-bats well with what they were given. They didn’t try to overdo it, they stayed within themselves to make the day a productive day.”

Oak Hall will return to the field Friday at 4 p.m. when they face the Saint Francis Catholic Wolves on the road.

About Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year student at the University of Florida. He is majoring in Journalism and specializing in Sports and Media.

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