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Freshman Payton Myers went three innings in his first varsity start to help the Tigers knock off the 8th ranked Kell Longhorns 23-11 Monday night behind an 18 hit battery from the Tiger offense. Fellow Freshman Tyler Gaines came in for relief in the third and again, strangley enough, in the seventh for the last two outs.
Tigers pitching and hitting coach Alex Duhaime gave Myers a single mission -throw strikes across the inside of the plate and hang in there for a couple of innings.
“The strategy was to start with the off speed pitches, and then bring in one of our fastball guys after they had time to adjust, said Duhaime. “I knew Kell could hit the fastball and our best chance to get a victory on the road was to throw Payton. I knew if he pounded the zone and stayed at the knees, that they would have trouble squaring up”
The game jumped off to a quick start as Kell retired the top of the Tiger order 1-2-3 and then scored a run in the first inning. Logan Tillem got things rolling with a single in the second inning, allowing him to score after Chris Kirk’s double. A couple of hits, and some bad fielding plays had Kell up 4-1 going into the third.
To begin the third, Kell loaded the bases with a walk, an error and then beaned Bryan Campbell who is fast becoming known as the team’s ball magnet - getting hit nearly once a game. DC added seven runs to go up 8-4 in the top of the inning. Kell began to settle in to the off-speed pitches in the bottom of the inning and added three more runs before Tyler Gaines stepped to the mound.
The heart of the Tiger order went 1-2-3 in the fourth, and Kell tied it up 8-8.
“I can’t say I wasn’t a little uneasy after Kell tied the game back up, but I noticed we started having better at-bats as the game went along. It was only a matter of time before we got deep into their bullpen and kept pouring the runs on.”
Tillem and Kirk tagged teamed again with to get on base. Alert base running and another error scored Tillem to push the Tigers back into the lead. Moroney walked to load the bags setting up a two-run double by Tank Barker to make it 11-8. Campbell found the gap for another RBI and the Longhorns again went to the bullpen with two runners on and two outs.
Facing the fresh arm, Elgine Porter took a hanging 3-2 curveball deep over the left field wall. After five innings the Tigers were up 15-11.
“Elgine just loves to compete. He doesn’t let previous at-bats affect his next at-bat and he has a short memory. The key to the mental side of hitting is not dwelling on the highs and lows, but forgetting the outcome of what previously happened and concentrating on tweaking your approach for the next at-bat. I think he has hit four of the hardest balls a BBCOR has seen to this date, in the last two games,” said Duhaime.
Campbell and Porter knocked it around some more in the sixth as Chris Kirk retired the side to make 19-11 headed into the final inning. But the Tigers were licking their chops for the final at bat. Tillem led off with a rocket to the center field fence for an easy double, followed by a laser through the gap by Kirk to start the seventh. Gaines drove in a run to with SAC and Moroney punched an RBI through to make it 21-11. Tank Barker then took the Kell pitcher deep for his second double of the night.
A final fielding error off another Campbell hit allowed two more Tigers to cross the dish to make it 23-11. To the bewilderment of Coach McAfee and the Tigers, the home plate umpired charge the Tigers with their fourth mound visit during the final inning. Despite the fact that the third visit was for an injury, the ruling on the field was that the pitcher must leave the mound. Gaines came from behind the plate, Kirk moved to center, Moroney to third, and Barker went behind the dish to get the final two outs.
“It was absolutely wild,” said Duhaime after the game. “In college I was a part of some crazy games, but this was the first game like this on the other side of the white lines. As a player, you can have some physical effect on the game, but as a coach it’s instilling the confidence and poise in the player to get the job done. That game had a little bit of everything and no lead ever seemed safe. It’s a great way to start the region schedule off, knowing that we have a perennial state contender in the rear view mirror and our eyes on the region championship prize.”
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From the Douglas County Sentinel Staff
Heritage-Conyers defeated Douglas County Monday night 11-1 in six innings. Tyler Gains picked up the loss for the Tigers. He allowed seven runs over five innings. Connor Moroney came into the game in the sixth and allowed four runs.
Heritage scored two runs in the first inning, one in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth. Douglas County’s lone run came in the fourth inning when Elgine Porter went deep for a home run.
Moroney was the only multiple hit player for the Tigers. He went 2-for-3 at the plate. Joe Barker picked up the only other hit for DC.
|Tyler Arnold||Ricky Lindsey|
|Josh Atwood||Connor Moroney|
|Joe Barker||Payton Myers|
|Tyler Blamble||Drew Norton|
|Bryan Campbell||Elgine Porter|
|Isaac Carter||Treyvin Riggins|
|Tyler Clemmons||Nick Robish|
|Andrew Flowers||Jackson Renner|
|Tyler Gaines||Bill Shepherd|
|Dustin Grey||Trey Stevens|
|Cody Hollingsworth||Logan Tillem|
|David Ihrig||Caleb Towler|
|Will Justice||Cody Tucker|
|Kyle Kirby||Chaz Wagner|
|Chris Kirk||Marlon Wynn|