Oxford defeats DeSoto Central in final game before region play

Published 6:29 pm Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Oxford baseball team defeated DeSoto Central 7-3 on Saturday in their final action before starting regional play against Grenada next week.

The Chargers (10-4) manufactured seven runs on just two hits, as they were able to capitalize on nine walks and five DeSoto Central errors.

“I think we had good at-bats all game,” said head coach Cade Hoggard. “We didn’t strike out a lot… we were able to get some walks, a couple errors and everything else, and got timely hits when we needed to.”

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The top of the Oxford lineup was patient against DeSoto Central starter Colton Coates, who struggled to find the strike zone in just three-plus innings of work. Leadoff hitter Campbell Smithwick and two-hole hitter Ty Wicker each drew three walks a piece, and combined to score three runs in the contest.

Centerfielder Cashe Shows played an excellent game in his return to the lineup after getting tossed in the first half of Thursday’s double-header. The junior came around to score after drawing walks in each of his first two at-bats, and also recorded one of just two hits for the Chargers on the afternoon.

Wicker made his first start of the season on the mound after being used primarily as a closer through the first 13 games of the season. The senior answered the call, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings while striking out two.

“He was a bullet we definitely wanted to shoot,” said Hoggard. “He’s a guy that could start, obviously he had a great performance today.”

He allowed three runners to reach base in the first inning, but worked his way out of the jam and settled in, retiring 10 of the next 12 batters he faced.

“They hit some balls hard on him in the first inning but he pitched out of it,” Hoggard said. “He settled in and was able to command three pitches. When he’s able to land the three that he did, that’s how you’re able to go through the lineup twice.”

Junior Kevin Hill entered on the mound in the sixth inning, and quickly worked his way through the heart of the DeSoto Central lineup before getting into trouble in the seventh.

The Jaguars managed to get the tying run into the on-deck circle in the final inning as Hill surrendered a walk and back-to-back singles broken up by a flyout to right. Another walk loaded the bases, but a sacrifice fly followed by a dribbler to third got Hill out of the jam and clinched a 7-3 victory for Oxford.

The Chargers secured their 10th victory of the season as they begin region play with a three-game series against Grenada next week. Oxford will travel to Grenada on Wednesday and Saturday with a home game in between on Friday.

“To play clean defense and get a big win right here to answer after East Union punched us in the mouth, I thought that was a big thing for this young team going into division,” said Hoggard. “Hopefully we can keep it rolling and keep playing the way we’re playing.”