The Hilltoppers hitters stayed hot, sending 17 batters to the plate during a 12-run third inning and defeated Tennessee High 18-1 in five innings. They improved to 4-1 in the in Big Seven Conference and 13-4 overall.
Will Wynd and Malik Stephens each drove in four runs for the Hilltoppers, who piled up 14 hits. Science Hill batters also produced six walks and three sacrifices, and four batters were hit by pitches.
The ’Toppers scored five times in the first, which was highlighted by a two-run single to left-center that essentially became an inside-the-park home run for Kyle Ouellette when it got past the center fielder. Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards has commended Ouellette for losing 15 pounds and adding muscle, but hustling for a round-tripper still felt like heavy duty.
“I just saw it go by him rounding first and just saw coach keep waving me in, so I just went with that,” Ouellette said. “I was more tired after than during. No matter how much weight I lose, running bases still gets me gassed.”
Ouellette also did some running when he two-hopped the right-center field wall with a slicing, line-drive RBI double during the third-inning onslaught. He finished 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs.
Stephens was 3-for-3 with a triple. Wynd (2-for-3, three runs) and Connell Boyle (2-for-2, three runs) also delivered triples in the big ballpark.
“That’s why I like playing here, because you can run for days and you’ve gotta have a fast outfield and play some defense out there,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “I think it’s kind of all starting to come together offensively. I mean, we’re just hitting line-drives. We’re not popping up. We’re not striking out as much as we were early in the season. …
“We know we’re not home run hitters. We never will be this year. That’s not gonna be our game. If we happen to get one, great, but we’ve just gotta hit line-drives … and take our walks.”
Stephens, a speedy center fielder, tripled to right with a line drive, delivered a pair of two-run singles and walked.
“He’s starting to find his groove,” Edwards said. “I thought he had a great night tonight, for sure.”
Addison Adams was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. He was also hit by a pitch.
J.T. Torbett and Tucker McPherson each had a hit and an RBI, and Landon Knack hit safely and was hit by a pitch.
McPherson, who Edwards said has battled a foot injury, also looked as comfortable at third base as he has at second while handling three chances.
“I thought he played a fantastic third base over there,” Edwards said.
Starter Matthew Beaird (1-0) pitched three shutout innings for the victory. He allowed two hits, a walk and hit a batter.
“I wanted to get him out of there once the game got out of hand,” Edwards said. “It’s a cold night and he’s gotta catch a lot this week, too. We’ve just got to be able to keep getting him on the mound more so he’ll get comfortable out there. He never really did get comfortable, but he still attacked the strike zone for the most part.
“And he’s got great stuff, and I think once he starts working ahead a little bit more, he’ll be even better.”
Science Hill will play the Vikings (1-5, 7-11) today in Bristol.
“These guys are a lot better than they showed today,” Edwards said. “I’m sure that they’ll be ready to go to tomorrow.”