CHURCH HILL -- Kyle Wilson led off with a home run and the hits kept coming for Science Hill in a 16-1 blowout victory over Tennessee High in the District 1-AAA baseball tournament at Volunteer High School.
After Science Hill pitcher Reed Hayes struck out the side in the top of the first, Wilson took advantage of a Saturday morning wind at his back to send a long home run over straight-away center field. Easily clearing the 380-mark, it was Wilson’s third home run of the season.
“I just tried to get something going offensively,” said Wilson, who finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. “He got me a good pitch up and I got a good swing at it. The wind was blowing out and it probably helped a little bit. It got us started.”
It certainly did.
Wilson’s teammates followed with six more hits as the Hilltoppers (27-6-1) went through their lineup and beyond. By the time they were done with the first inning, the ‘Toppers held a 10-0 lead.
With two runs in the third and four more in the fourth, the game ended in just five innings.
“I liked the way we came out,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “We got them up early and made them hit the field early. We got there together and took b.p. like normal at 7:30 in the morning. You never know what’s going to happen in an early game, but we’ve had some success in it.”
The early morning work paid off on both ends as Will Craig and Tucker McPherson each finished 2-for-3.
Hayes went 1-for-4 with four RBIs at the plate, and had six strikeouts on the mound to pick up the win. He gave up just four hits, all in the fourth inning. He admitted, however, it was much easier throwing with a big lead.
“Once you score that many runs in the first inning, you just relax,” Hayes said. “You’re not tight anymore. In the postseason, some people will tighten up and get nervous about the season ending.”
It will take at least two losses and an extra day for that to happen for Science Hill. With the tournament’s new format of double-elimination throughout, the Hilltoppers get to take today off to rest their arms and legs.
The Vikings (13-12) scored their only run in the fourth inning when they strung together four straight singles. Devin Turner suffered the loss.
It didn’t help Tennessee High’s cause that Science Hill remembered the teams’ last meeting, a 4-3 Viking victory on April 23 with Turner on the mound.
“We owed them one, owed them a big one from their place when they beat us,” Wilson said. “We had that in us and played with a little extra fire.”