PLAS routs Hooper with a little help from Mother Nature

Published 11:03 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rarely does rain do a baseball team any good, especially when it comes during a game. However, Pike Liberal Arts head coach Butch Austin believes a passing thnderstorm, and subsequent delay, helped his team on Tuesday afternoon.

Pike (8-1) cruised to a 12-2 region win over Hooper Academy in Troy on Tuesday.

The rain, along with thunder and lightning, came in the top half of the second inning. Pitcher Taytom Barnes had a rough start to the game, giving up a home run to the lead off batter for the Colts, but came out of the delay and promptly retired the side.

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“I fully believe the rain helped calm him down,” said Austin. “We wanted him to work four innings, but decided to go with three. If not for the rain, we may not have got that much today.”

The Patriot bats also came alive after the near one-hour delay.

The Patriot lineup combined for seven hits in the inning, including doubles by Chandler Avant, John Steven Grice and Robert Benton, to break the game open.

Pike sent thirteen batters to the plate in the second inning, and scored eight runs.

The hits came from the top, middle and bottom of the lineup as the Pike poured on the runs.

Austin said that the hitting performnace on Monday was one of the Patriot’s better ones of the year.

“I believe we hit the ball really well tonight,” said Austin. “We made good contact, and found the gaps. Even on the balls that weren’t hits, they were hit hard. We still have some work to do, but this was a good game for us. The rain might have helped the whole ball team.”

The win for the Patriots gives them a leg up in the region race. Hooper Academy, Macon-East Academy and Evangel Christian make up the area for Pike Liberal.

“This was a big one for us,” said Austin. It gets you off on a good start, and gets some confidece in the guys. Hooper is better than they have been, so this means a lot.”

Barnes picked up the win for the Patriots going three innings, striking out three batters and giving up just two hits.

Barnes was also the leader at the plate for Pike Liberal after going 4-4 on the day inclduing a laser three-run homer in the first. Barnes finished the day with four RBIs. Right fielder Brian Adams had three RBIs in the win.

Pike will have a rare practice day on Wednesday before facing Hooper again, although this time on the road, on Thursday.

“We haven’t been able to practice in about 10 or 12 days,” said Austin. “We have either been playing, or it has been raining. We will take the day to work on some things, and be ready to go again on Thursday.”