Redhawks Wrap Up ‘Learning Season’

Jory Harrison (2) lays down a bunt Monday against River Bluff. (Photo/Ross Burton)

BLYTHEWOOD – The rapidly developing Westwood baseball team had their hands full on Monday with River Bluff High School as the Gators devoured the ‘Hawks 11-0 in six innings.

“We are improving every game,” head coach Jonathan Burroughs said. “The time off during spring break took us to the next level. We are hoping to send the seniors off on a good note tonight.”

The game was the final regular season game for the Redhawks, and was traditionally senior night. Three seniors and their parents were recognized prior to the first pitch.

Burroughs has often said that the path to victory is a marathon, and not a sprint. Burroughs explained this way, “We have been improving every game. The next step in our team development is to keep as many guys from our core group together this summer and get into some tournaments. If we keep working with these key guys, we will improve over the summer. We have several promising players coming up from the eighth grade as well.”

Among the keys to victory in the game was the pitching of Tig Yoder of River Bluff. Yoder allowed only four hits and struck out eight batters. In fact, Yoder fanned the first two batters he faced. He allowed two of his hits in the next two at-bats, but the final out was a toss to first base. When the Gators had their turn, the first two batters got on base and were batted in by a homer, courtesy of Reese Burnett.

In the third, Ian Miller got as far as second for the Redhawks, but a strikeout ended the inning. The Gators scored twice in the third when Brandon Tillman hit a double, and was driven home by Sean Parsons. Parsons scored the second run of the inning.

The fourth inning was an all-Gator affair. The first batter, Will Bradford, hit the ball over the fence for a home run. The next batter sent a grounder past the infield for a double. A walk and a wild pitch advanced River Bluff batters into scoring position on second and third. A blooper toward first base sent in the second run of the inning. The next batter walked, resulting in Gator players on first and third. Harrison Kinard got hold of the ball and sent it flying toward the right field fence. It didn’t clear the fence, but hit the canvas for a two-run double. Things went from bad to worse for the Redhawk pitcher, as a grounder to second base put runners on first and third. The next batter walked, loading the bases. Burroughs came out to the mound and put in Joshua Easaw-Thomas to save the inning. Easaw-Thomas did so when a fly ball to left field was caught, ending the inning with the score 9-0, Gators.

The Redhawks went three-up, three down in the fourth and fifth innings. The Gators got a man on base with a double, but a put-out at first and two pop flies left them short of what they needed in order to end the game via the 10-run rule. In the sixth, things got really ugly for Westwood. After striking out the first batter, the Redhawk pitcher allowed a single, a walk, a wild pitch and loaded the bases with another walk. The next batter also walked, thereby walking in a run. The second Gator run of the inning came by way of a wild pitch. The Redhawks needed two runs to send the game into a seventh inning. Unfortunately, they went down in order, ending the game after six complete innings with a score of 11-0. The winning pitcher was Tig Yoder, and the losing pitcher was Thomas Castles.

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