Patriots defeat Crenshaw Christian 12-7

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots baseball team won a back-and-forth game against Crenshaw Christian 12-7 Monday night in Luverne.

The lead changed hands a total of five times.

“We made some mistakes early,” said Patriots head coach Allen Ponder. “We pitched well early and then struggled to find the zone in the middle innings. They hit some ground balls and we made some errors and allowed them to take the lead.”

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“I thought they did a great job at battling back,” Ponder said. “They didn’t press when they were down by three runs. We were able to work our way back in the game so I was impressed. Early in the season it’s nice to see those things.”

Hayes Lee, Hunter Jones, Reed Jinright and Dakota McConnell all had huge games, combining for seven hits for the Patriots on the night.

The Patriots were able to take their final lead in the fourth inning when Adam Grice singled, driving in Jinright.

“We did a good job at being patient (in the middle innings),” Ponder said. “Early in the game I thought we were impatient. We started working the count deep and that enabled us to get some guys on base and we were able to get some big hits to take the lead.”

Jinright reached base in his first three at bats. He had singles in the first, fifth and sixth innings.

The Patriots increased their lead by adding three more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to secure the win.

The pitching for the Patriots struggled at times, but did just enough to lockdown Crenshaw’s batters.

Kiegan Simmons, the Patriots’ starter, pitched the game’s first two innings before running into trouble in the third inning.

“Kiegan threw the ball well in the first two innings,” Ponder said. “He struggled to find his release point a little bit in the third inning. Which is natural this time of the year. He hasn’t pitched a lot early.”

Adam Grice came in and locked down the game in the next three innings, allowing just one run. Tyler Floyd and Justin Helms combined to pitch the final two innings.

The win for the Patriots was their second win in the past four days. The Patriots defeated Lakeside on Thursday afternoon 12-1 in five innings.

The Patriots were led by senior starting pitcher Jared Jordan. Jordan allowed only three hits and struck out two batters.

With the two wins the Patriots improved their record on the year to 4-1. They will be in action again on Feb. 26 when they travel to take part in the Morgan Tournament in Selma.