Meridian Star


June 28, 2014

District 5 rebounds with 6-3 win in State Games baseball

MERIDIAN — Northeast Lauderdale High School's Andrew White smacked a go-ahead two-run single to right field to help lift District 5 past District 6, 6-3, and stave off elimination in baseball action at the State Games of Mississippi Friday.

"They came out today with a chip on their shoulder," District 5 coach Kent Lewis said. "They were upset about yesterday's loss, and have aspirations to win the whole thing, and they feel like that they can."

Despite managing just five hits, District 5 took advantage of five costly errors, taking extra bases when the opportunities presented themselves.

"These kids are real smart ball players," Lewis said. "We have great base runners and good situational hitters. They want to win. These kids really want it, and that's what I love about this team."

In the bottom of the first, District 5 center fielder Austin Moffett got the team off to a fast start as the Taylorsville senior laced a double to left field and promptly stole third base. Moffett eventually came in to score following a wild pitch.

"I like to use my speed to make plays," Moffett said. "If I can just find a way to get on base, then I believe I can make plays happen. I think I'm a leader on this team, and I think I can hype people up to where we are able to use that energy to help win games."

Added Lewis, "He's that spark plug. He gets on base, and everybody knows that he's going to steal, and there's nothing that you can do about it. They have a lot of confidence, and everyone feeds off of that confidence."

In the top of the fourth, District 6 managed to tie the game, 2-2, following an RBI double by Luke Craig and a bases-loaded walk by Chance Cotton.

With one out, David Hondo, of Wayne County High School, entered the game and managed to limit District 6 to just one run in escaping the jam.

"I was trying to get out of the inning with as little damage inflicted as possible," Hodo said. "I was able to throw strikes and keep the ball low with my two-seam fastball. I grip my (two-seam) a little differently. I hold it between the seams and not on the seams and am able to get some late run on it."

Hodo tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win in relief.

"He has a lot of sink to his pitches," Lewis said. He has good off-speed pitches, and his fastball will sneak up on people. He just absolutely shut the door for a few innings, and that was huge."

In the bottom half of the fourth, White came through with his two-run single to put District 5 back on top, 5-3.

In the sixth, District 5 tacked on an insurance run when Hodo reached base on a misplayed fly ball and scampered home following a fielding error. Enterprise's Garrett Glenn pitched the seventh and earned the save to secure the win.

"I think the guys felt that people were placing them as the underdog of this tournament," Lewis said. "And today, they played with that as motivation, they played with that underdog, chip-on-their-shoulder mentality. And that's the team that I know that we have, and these kids can really play."

District 5 advances to play the loser of Game 8 between District 2 and District 3 at 12:30 p.m. today.

"We're going to have to continue to hit," Lewis said. "I thought the defense played real solid today, and our pitchers need to continue throw strikes. These kids are smart and very competitive."

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