MOUNTAIN PINE -- Mountain Pine utilized a stable defensive effort and a strong start to rout Kirby 19-3 Tuesday, thanks in part to a 12-run fourth inning, snapping a five loss skid for the Red Devils.
Kirby picked up its only lead in the top of the first inning with a run from T. Davis, but Mountain Pine (3-8) quickly heated things up on offense.
Seniors Tielyr Sales and Brayden Radley hit back-to-back triples to get things going early, Sales stealing home for the 2-1 lead. Classmate Josiah Walpole and junior Andrew Goodin sat on the back side of the diamond before sophomore Rylan Roberts and freshman Jonah Wilburn hit RBI singles to plate Walpole and Goodin before Wilburn crossed the plate for a 5-1 lead.
"You know it's gonna be a good day when you start off with back to back triples," said Mountain Pine head coach Joseph Alderman. "We've had this slump and I told them they've got to start holding themselves accountable versus just always me being accountable. And if they do that, they'll raise their own expectations. So whenever they do that, they're gonna try and meet their own expectations. So I think we did a good job of that. We talked about aggressiveness on the base path. We got a triple that probably would've been a double in most cases, but because we're aggressive and making those turns, they did a good job assuming the fact we're gonna move up and did a great job of being aggressive on the base paths today."
Kirby put up a pair of runs in the top of the second as B. Baxter found his way to first, stealing to set himself up in scoring position with two outs. A hit from A. Henson set Baxter in motion to the plate for the score, but Henson was thrown out at first.
The Trojans could not catch a break in the top of the third as Mountain Pine's defense connected with Goodin to retire Kirby's batters in order. In the bottom of the inning, senior Christian Sheridan hit a grounder to left field to reach first, stealing second and third before pushing the lead out to five off an RBI single from sophomore Judah Garcia.
"We've faced some different pitching – high velocity, low velocity stuff this year," Alderman said. "We did a better job sitting back and controlling ourselves. Not worrying about what everybody else does. And playing within ourselves. We just barreled it up and didn't try and do too much with the baseball had the success. Defensively, it was a whole different day today. We had a couple errors here and there but we didn't let it domino effect and fall apart."
S. Markham put up Kirby's last score of the night as Mountain Pine brought the game home in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of multiple walks and miscues to put up 12 of their 19 runs.
After D. Markham walked four Red Devils with two runs, B. Baxter was called up in relief. After another pair of scores, Mountain Pine again loaded the bases as Baxter walked four Red Devils. Walpole had a two-RBI single before Baxter walked Goodin to load the bases again. Another walk sent Roberts home before junior Brice Langley hit a two-RBI double to close out the game.
Walpole gave up one earned run off two hits and two walks while striking out three in a complete-game win. Langley and Walpole led the team with two hits and two RBIs each, and Radley had two RBI. Walpole, Radley and Goodin each scored three runs, and Langley, Sales, Roberts and Sheridan scored two apiece.
The Red Devils travel to Cutter Morning Star on Friday at 4:30 p.m.