MADISON — For the Hall-Dale High School baseball team, the play was a spark. For Madison, it was a bucket of water.

Down two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Madison had the bases loaded and one out, when Hall-Dale pitcher Cole Lockhart sniffed out the squeeze play. Lockhart threw his pitch behind hitter Evan Bess, making sure there was no chance Bess would get the bunt down. From there, runner Derek LeBlanc was caught down the third base line and tagged out, and Madison’s rally was effectively over.

“That’s what I teach the kids. If we pick up a suicide squeeze, put the ball where they can’t get the bunt down, and they just executed it perfectly,” Hall-Dale coach Bob Sinclair said.

From there, Hall-Dale executed at the plate, in the field, and on the mound to take a 10-0 win in a game ended after five innings due to the mercy rule.

“We got a little over aggressive on that. We weren’t straight squeezing, we were trying a safety, and (LeBlanc) got hung up,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said of the key first inning play.

Hall-Dale (6-3) broke the game open with four runs in the fourth inning. The first six batters reached base for Hall-Dale in the fourth, and the rally began with consecutive singles by the bottom three hitters in the order, Josh Cowing, Josh Berberich and Jordan Gardner. Five of Hall-Dale’s 12 hits came in the fourth inning.

“We’ve been struggling at the bottom of the order, and we saw (the ball) really well,” Berberich, who had three hits and scored twice, said. “I felt like I defintely improved a lot from yesterday’s practice. Yesterday we worked on my swing a little bit, and you could definitely see it today.”

Added Sinclair: “This was our best offensive day so far this season. One through nine, everybody got in on the action. Midseason here, you like to have games like this where you continue to improve.”

After the first inning, Hall-Dale’s freshman starting pitcher settled down. Lockhart allowed five hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out one.

“(Lockhart) pitched to contact, and we just came up with the plays,” Sinclair said.

Chase Malloy took the loss for Madison (3-6), and at the plate contributed two hits.

“They hit it a lot where we weren’t. Other times, they hit it on the screws well. The Lockhart kid pitched a solid game,” Franzose said. “We had opportunities early, then we faded a bit.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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