By Drew Kerekes / The Meridian Star
The Meridian Star
After one inning, Friday night's baseball matchup between Quitman High School and Northeast Lauderdale High School looked like it might be a high-scoring game.
Then Trojans pitcher Landon Keller settled down, and it was only high-scoring for Northeast Lauderdale.
The Trojans pounded out 12 hits en route to a 16-2 win against the Panthers, as Keller got the win in five innings of work. The game ended on the run rule. He yielded just four hits, issued one walk and struck out six. One of his two runs came in the first, in which he allowed several base runners.
"He struggled a little bit in the first inning, but once he settled in and got his off speed stuff working, he started feeling pretty good, and once he got in that groove, he was able to throw three pitches for strikes," Northeast head coach Josh Snider said. "Anytime he can throw three pitches for a strike, he's going to have some success on the mound."
Quitman, meanwhile, struggled mightily after the first inning, scoring just one more run after that. Panthers head coach Jim Abraham didn't mince words when evaluating the game.
"I have failed those boys as a coach, that's what I think about that game," Abraham said. "They don't handle adversity really well, and I think that falls back on me."
But the Panthers are dealing with several key injuries, including pitcher/third baseman Taylor Creighton, who was forced to DH Friday and had just one at-bat, as well as pitcher/second baseman Brandon Dew. Pitcher Kyle Colston is pitching with a torn labrum as well. All three players are seniors.
"Once that happened, they just didn't handle the adversity," Abraham said.
Northeast scored three runs in the top of the first, with Blake Sanders scoring first on a throwing error. Andrew White scored on a double by Ben Smith, and he later came home on a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the first, Quitman's Anterio McKines scored on a fielder's choice to make it 3-1 Trojans after the first.
In the second, Northeast extended its lead to 7-1. A double by Smith scored Sanders, and Smith later came home on a fielder's choice. Nate Johnson also had a double that sent in two runners.
The Trojans made it 11-1 in the top of the fourth when Sanders scored on a bunt by White and a Haze Bosarge double sent home two more runners. Bosarge then came in on a throwing error to third base when Bosarge attempted to steal third.
Quitman scored its other run in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Colby Avera that scored D'Undre Hodge.
But Northeast scored two more runs in the top of the fifth, two on RBI doubles by Mikey Meyers and LaDale Cockrell, two on an RBI double by Bosarge and on on a passed ball.
"We played a very team-oriented game tonight," Snider said. "We're playing unselfish baseball right now, and that's how you win games."
Quitman's Dalton Crump took the loss, giving up 11 runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings pitched. He also had two walks and one strikeout.
Northeast (9-2, 2-0) will play at Enterprise High School today, while Quitman (2-9, 0-2) will play at West Point High School today.