Young tops Moak as Rebels edge Huntington in 7-1A contest

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 24, 2003

FERRIDAY, La. &045; It’s been a long time since Robert Young has felt this good about staring into catcher Brett Malone to get the sign and leaving batters off balanced and confused in the box.

The Amite School Center senior, who has already committed to play both baseball and football at Southwest Mississippi Community College, is returning from shoulder problems and, from all indications Monday, is finally back at full strength.

Young struck out 10 Huntington batters and at one point retired 16 straight before the Hounds’ last-inning thrust fell a run short, 3-2.

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&uot;We felt like Robert threw well for us tonight, and the team played some good defense behind him,&uot; ASC head coach Stephen Cooksey said. &uot;The combination of the two really led us to the win. Huntington played sound out there, but we were able to capitalize on some mistakes they made early in the game.&uot;

Hitless for much of the game, Huntington’s bats perked up in the seventh. After Will Moak led off with a single, Bronson Rhodes followed with a walk and Zack Calhoun was hit by Young to load the bases.

With one out, Landon Yarborough scored Moak with a sacrifice fly to center, and the Hounds were within one when Kyle Johnson followed with a RBI single.

Young hunkered down and got his last K of the night when Mike Ferguson whiffed on some high heat.

&uot;I knew all I had to do was settle down, regroup, focus and get out of here with a win,&uot; Young said. &uot;I got lucky that he went after a pitch out of the strike zone, and we pulled it off.&uot;

It was a pitcher’s duel between Young and starter Moak for most of the night. Even when ASC (8-5, 4-0 MPSA 7-1A)

built a 1-0 lead through the third and a 2-0 lead at the end of five innings, Moak kept it close by working his way out of a sixth-inning jam by picking off Casey Cox at first base.

The Rebels manufactured their first run of the ball game when Jeremy Perkins went the other way with a hanging Moak curveball. Huntington (2-8, 1-4 7-1A) right fielder Mike Ferguson misplayed the line drive and Perkins slid into third with a one-out triple.

&uot;We’re not a bad ball club. We’re definitely a lot better than our record indicates,&uot; Hounds coach Michael McAnally said. &uot;It’s not like teams are coming in here and drilling us. Will Moak pitched well for us again. I can’t ask for anymore from him.&uot;

Perkins, also a SWCC signee in two sports, came home for a 1-0 lead when the next batter Dean Lewis reached on an infield hit that second baseman Patrick Clayton did well just to knock down.

Young held the fort by retiring Huntington in order from the second to the sixth innings. After surrendering two two-out singles in the opening half for the Hounds, Young was able to close the door by retiring Zack Calhoun with a toss over to first on one of the many grounders.

&uot;My defense was behind me 100 percent tonight,&uot; Young said. &uot;We really started rolling when Huntington continued to hit ground balls. When Jeremy hit that triple it really got us up in the dugout.

&uot;That got me pumped up and made me feel good that everybody wanted to win just as much as I did. I was able to come out and pitch effectively.&uot;

Young credits ASC pitching coach Matt Mason for getting him back into shape for the mound and polishing up his mechanics.

The Rebels added a run in the fifth when Lewis scored, but got a very important insurance run in the top of the last inning.