Runs, runs and more runs
Warriors win in battle of state baseball champions
As his team came in to the dugout at the close of the first inning at Huntingtown on Friday, trailing the Hurricanes by a couple of runs after a seemingly harmless fly ball found its way over the left-field fence for a three-run home run, La Plata head baseball coach John Childers reminded his players that the short fence was in the same place for both teams.
Nick Steury took the message to heart.
Steury’s three-run homer over the same area of left-field fence — marked 302 feet away from the plate down the line — in the top of the second catapulted the Warriors back in front and triggered what became an eight-run inning that left them with a 10-4 lead.
Many runs were still to be scored, but La Plata never trailed again in what ended an 18-10 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision win for the defending Class 2A state champions over the defending 3A state champion Hurricanes.
“I kind of got lucky. The wind was blowing out, it hit the sweet spot and went out,” said Steury, who also had a double in the game and finished with six RBIs. “We had a lot of good at-bats. We played to our potential offensively today. We could get better, though. I could get better, too.”
La Plata (2-1 overall after a 7-0 win over Leonardtown on Monday) had put two runs on the scoreboard in the top of the first on Jake Hanks’ tworun bomb, but Huntingtown (1-2) answered with four runs in the inning’s bottom half. Davaughn Reid doubled, stole third and scored on Spencer
Cooper’s groundout for the Hurricanes’ first run, while Joe Mozingo hit a three-run homer to give the Hurricanes a 4-2 lead after one.
The lead was shortlived, though, as Steury’s three-run shot with one out in the top of the second put the visitors back in front to stay. Ryan Calvert slammed a ground-rule double for two runs later in the inning, while Dean Kirby delivered a two-run single to close the inning’s scoring.
Reid and Ryan Terrents had RBI singles to highlight Huntingtown’s three-run outburst in the bottom of the second, closing the deficit to 10-7. But Hanks’ RBI single in the top of the third drove home Brett Pilkerton to push the lead back out to 11-7 through 2 1/2.
That remained the score until the bottom of the fifth, when Huntingtown loaded the bases with one out. Ian Morgan then brought home a run on a fielder’s choice, while Reid followed with a two-run single to whittle La Plata’s lead down to a mere run, 11-10.
But La Plata tacked on a run in the sixth and then exploded for six more in the seventh to put an end to the drama. In all, the Warriors banged out 18 hits and every player in the team’s starting lineup scored at least once. La Plata had a similar offensive showing in its opener, scoring nine runs through five innings in a 10-9 loss to Northern. That game was shortened to five innings due to darkness.
“We’ve been having really good at-bats,” Childers said. The Warriors are scheduled to be at North Point at 4:30 p.m. today. “We’ve scored 27 runs in two games, that’s 12 innings. The at-bats have been great, over and over and over again. The defense in the first game was kind of a show, but today I thought they played good defense. Huntingtown always hits the ball hard and they did again today. We made some nice plays. I was really pleased with the defense, especially.”
Huntingtown’s contest with North Point on Monday was called because of darkness with the Hurricanes leading 13-12 in the seventh inning. A continuation date and time was not known at press time. Huntingtown is slated to host St. Charles at 4:30 p.m. today.
Through their first three games, the Hurricanes had delivered rather mixed results, giving up double-digit run totals twice to sandwich an 18-1 win over Lackey. Ultimately, the efforts have not been close to what the team needs.
“You give up 18 runs and 18 hits . ... It’s the first time in my coaching career that we’ve ever given up that much on both ends,” Huntingtown head coach Guy Smith said. “It’s pretty disappointing. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. We’ve given up a lot of extra-base hits. We’re giving five or six outs an inning, pitchers can’t get ahead. It’s normal baseball stuff that we’re not doing right right now.
“It’s a disappointing start. We’re looking for answers, and a lot of guys aren’t stepping up. We’re going to keep working in practice and see if we can find nine guys who can compete and get after it. Right now we don’t have nine. That’s what we’re looking for.”
La Plata’s Jake Hanks is congratulated by head coach John Childers after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of the Warriors’ game at Huntingtown on Friday afternoon. La Plata defeated Huntingtown 18-10.
La Plata head coach John Childers talks with some of his players during a pitching change in the second inning of the Warriors game at Huntingtown on Friday afternoon. La Plata defeated Huntingtown 18-10. STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES