Patriots pick up opening day win over Hooper
Published 3:00 am Friday, February 12, 2016
After several weeks of freezing cold practices, sunshine and a win welcomed the 2016 baseball season for the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots.
The Patriots defeated Hooper Academy 11-1 on Thursday in six innings.
“It was great,” head coach Allen Ponder said. “It was great to wake up this morning and not see freezing weather. We couldn’t ask for better weather. God couldn’t have blessed us for a better day for baseball.”
The Colts jumped out to a 1-0 lead over the Patriots in the second inning but it didn’t take long for Pike to answer. Adam Grice and Murphy Renfroe both got on base and a single by Bailey Renfroe and a fielders choice by Sawyer McKenzie to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead.
The Patriots tacked on three more runs in the third inning when Hayes Lee, Hunter Jones and Reed Jinright all reached base and came around to score on back to back errors by the Colts.
“We have an understanding of the fact that we are not going to hit the ball out of the ball park,” Allen said. “We have to get the ball on the ground and put pressure on the defense. I think we did a very good job of putting the ball in play in the second and third innings. In those innings we had some things go in our favor, but at the same time when you put the ball in play you will always have a good chance for good things to happen.”
The Patriots sealed the deal in the fifth inning when they tallied five runs on four hits. Jinright began the inning with an infield base hit and moved up to third base on the Tyler Hussey double. After a walk by Jinright and a base hit by Grice, Murphy Renfroe cleared the bases on a triple to right field to make it a 9-1 game. The Patriots closed out the inning on a groundout by Hussey.
“You always want to get a win, but you also want to see positive things in that first win,” Ponder said.
The pitching staff allowed only one run on a handful of hits. Justin Helms, Lee and Tyler Floyd combine to keep the Colts offense in check.
“I am very proud of them,” Ponder said. “Helms came out and did a fantastic job for us. He threw strikes, which is exactly what we wanted him to do. He made one mistake by giving up that homerun, but the great thing was that he came back and got the next out. It was very positive for us on the pitcher’s mound today.”
The Patriots (1-0) will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Auburn to take on Lee Scott starting at 4:30 p.m.