Perhaps scoring two runs in the top of the first inning was the worst thing Hitters Baseball could have done on Saturday morning against Austin Wings Black, because the rally seemed to only tick the Wings off.
It was sort of like punching a hornet’s nest.
After a rough frame, the Wings stormed back with a run in the first, six in the second, two in the third and another in the fourth as they pounded Hitters by run-rule 10-2 in five innings. Their attack was aided not only by starting pitcher Connor Mayes, who shut down the Hitters’ lineup after the first, but also thanks to a potent offense that had its way with three Hitters pitchers.
Two players in the Wings’ lineup, leadoff man Richard Cunningham and No. 4 hitter Grayson Williams, each came a hit shy of the cycle. Cunningham needed only a home run to complete the rare feat as he finished with three hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Williams, meanwhile, needed only a double as he tripled in the first, homered in the second, and singled in the fourth inning to finish 3 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
The home run was Williams’ third in as many days, and it helped move the Wings to a perfect 6-0 in the tournament.
After Mayes rebounded to retire the side in order in the second inning, the Wings batted around on offense before Williams capped the inning with a booming two-run homer to left to make it 7-2. Back-to-back triples by Chance Callihan and Drew Judson pushed across two more runs to make it 9-2, before and RBI single by Tyler Payne in the fourth made it 10-2.
Mayes, meanwhile, held the Hitters to two runs on five hits while striking out 10 with two walks. The offense, meanwhile, backed him with 10 hits.
“That first inning was tough,” Mayes said. “I knew I had to make an adjustment to help out the hitting. I knew our defense would do well and they just did a phenomenal job.
“Those guys helped me out mentally, as did our offense. It’s always great as a pitcher when they come out and score as many runs as they do. It felt good to learn from my mistakes and come back out and help get the win.”
Mayes got himself in a jam early after walking the first two batters of the game, drawing a mound visit from pitching coach, and former big leaguer Scott Ruffcorn. After a runner was caught stealing and a fielder’s choice, Cyrillo Watson flipped a single to left to bring home Justin Lavey with the first run. J.T. Athey and Drake Danials followed with successive singles to bring home Watson to make it 2-0.
Page 2 of 2 - The Hitters would only manage two hits the remainder of the way.