COLLINSVILLE — From staff reports
COLLINSVILLE — West Lauderdale High School relied on the double whammy of an offensive explosion and strong pitching in an 11-1 win against Houston High School Thursday in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 4A North State title series.
The Knights tallied eight hits and six walks en route to the blowout win, and starter Will Stokes surrendered just one run on one hit in five innings of work. He also walked six and struck out six. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-runs-after-five mercy rule.
After having said early in the playoffs that his team's hitting needed to pick up, West head coach Jerry Boatner said he was happy with his team's hitting Thursday.
"It was a big lift for us to hit like we did tonight," Boatner said. "We didn't face their No. 1 or 2 starter, because they just played the night before. I'm sure they're saving their No. 1 for (tonight), but I was really pleased with our hitting. Once you can get two or three runs, with Will pitching, it's pretty much over with. I hope this is a good omen for things to come."
On Stokes' night, Boatner said the only negative was the six walks and one hit batsman.
"Stokes was overpowering but wild," he said. "He's been averaging less than two walks per seven innings. The last two games we've thrown more balls than normal, so I'm a little concerned."
Stokes also went 2-for-4 at the plate, and Colton McKeithen, Chase McClelland and Mason Wooldridge each had two RBIs apiece. Fred Franklin and McKain Ortlepp also had RBIs for the Knights.
West (30-2) will play at 6 p.m. today at Houston for Game 2 of the series.