Starting pitcher Garrett Wilkins struck out eight and gave up just one hit and four walks over 4 2/3 innings as the Hilltoppers improved to 6-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Seven Conference. Reliever Jack Emling closed it out by giving up just one more hit over the next 2 1/3 innings.
They had plenty of run support with David Bryant and Jackson Hill both blasting two-run home runs and Zach Copenhaver going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
“I liked our approach,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “Overall, we just threw strikes and settled in and played defense. Then, we hit the baseball hard and strung together some good hits when we needed to. It’s a good start and a good series for sure.”
Devin Foster started for Crockett and went 1 2/3 innings before giving way to Grady Cash, who suffered the loss. Hill talked about his home run, which put the ’Toppers firmly out front.
“I’ve been seeing the ball well lately and I just got all of it,” Hill said. “It was windy — cold and tough conditions — but we started scoring more runs and forgetting about all that. I was warm when I was running the bases and just felt great.”
POSITIVES FOR THE PIONEERS
The Pioneers fell to 1-5, 0-4, but continued to show improvement. After getting hammered 24-2 by Tennessee High in its first game of the season, Crockett pushed Science Hill to seven innings on back-to-back nights.
Luke Larkins had a single in the top of the seventh as the Pioneers battled to the end.
“It’s just like life,” Crockett coach Nick Lingerfelt said. “You have two options. You can fight or you can give up. We’re going to come back every day and I see an improvement in them every day. I have some thoughts in my mind where I feel we can put these puzzle pieces together.”
Crockett took a 1-0 lead in the first as Cash singled and then advanced to third on a fielding error. Jacob Jenkins followed with a hard-hit ball to the shortstop, resulting in an error and Cash scoring the Pioneers’ only run.
SCIENCE HILL RESPONSE
Copenhaver had a RBI single to score Matthew Levi and tied the game in the bottom of the first. He later had an RBI double in the third between the two-run homers by Bryant and Hill.
The ’Toppers added two runs in the fourth and fifth innings and there was plenty of offense throughout the lineup.
Lead-off Ben Grable had a triple and a walk and Cade McCoy and Levi each scored two runs. Garrett Stiltner kept the pressure on by reaching base all four times while batting in the No. 8 spot.
“I feel we have guys who can do it one through nine and I believe in them,” Edwards said. “They’ve just got to have a good approach at the plate. Coach (Andy) Wallen has talked to them about their approach, not getting too big in certain situations and just letting it happen.”