Baseball: Bison edges Marlins as college stars return to diamond
Adam Fallon and Tyler Ross received the best news possible June 2 before they even stepped onto the diamond at Don Edwards Park in Newark.
The Bowling Green teammates found out their baseball program was being reinstated with the help of significant alumni donations. A couple hours later, they combined to lead the Ohio Bison to a 7-5 victory over the Ohio Marlins.
"It's been a really rough two weeks, talking to new schools while also hearing stuff about BG. For it being finally announced, it was a big relief off my shoulders," said Ross, an Olentangy Orange graduate
His three-run double to the gap in left-center in the bottom of the fourth inning was the big blow in a back-and-forth affair. Fallon, a Watterson graduate, had walked in front of him for the third consecutive time, and he scored following each one.
"Guys get on, and you really want to drive them in," Ross said. "I got a good pitch and hit it well."
It capped the second day of action in the seven-team Ohio Independent Collegiate Baseball Association. All games are at Don Edwards Park during June with the exception of Chillicothe Capitals home games.
Utica graduate Garett Robberts hit an RBI single in a two-run first inning for the Marlins. Robberts is playing for fellow Utica graduate Michael Sandman after his senior season at Ashland University was cut short in March because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"Taking those two or three months off, getting the rust off is the main thing. Getting some games in is wonderful," Robberts said. "We have some great guys on the team, and everybody is just getting back into the swing of things. We just have to piece some stuff together."
Robberts will take advantage of the NCAA allowing seniors an extra year of eligibility to attempt to lead the Eagles back to the Division II World Series, where they advanced a year ago.
"It was all a shock for us," Robberts said of the abrupt end to the 2020 season. "We have everybody coming back that was on our World Series team, so it's going to be a great year next year."
Licking Valley graduate Cody Dennis, a Youngstown State senior, also is a member of the Marlins. He did not play against the Bison, but he did pitch in the Marlins’ combined no-hitter in an 8-1 victory against TNT Baseball Academy on June 1.
Heath graduate Marshall Flynn was one of six Bison to throw an inning June 2. Olentangy Liberty graduate Beau Foster and Central Crossing graduate Victor Tyo closed out the win, combining to strike out four of the final five hitters.
Noah Reed, a Worthington Kilbourne graduate, homered and doubled for the Marlins. Pickerington North graduate Mitchell Smith had a pair of RBI singles for the Bison.
With many of the collegiate summer leagues canceled around the country, an opportunity to locally play in central Ohio is a godsend.
"There will probably be a little trash talking buddy to buddy or throw little jabs from high school that you remember," Ross said.