Huntington finds stride at plate to down Trinity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

FERRIDAY, La. &045; It really sounds funny, but it’s true: to hit the ball hard, sometimes you don’t have to swing with everything you’ve got.

Patrick Clayton will attest to it.

The leadoff batter for Huntington’s Hounds banged a shot off the scoreboard in the fourth inning of his team’s 7-2 win over Trinity Episcopal Tuesday for his first dinger of the season.

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Even he was a little surprised.

&uot;I saw the ball real well tonight,&uot; said Clayton, who drove in four runs and scored two. &uot;I wasn’t expecting a home run. It felt pretty good. It kept on going, and I figured out it was gone. It’s always good to score a lot of runs. We haven’t been scoring a lot of runs lately.&uot;

That’s been one of the big reasons why the Hounds are off to a 3-8 start this spring. But against Trinity the Hounds banged out 11 hits, took advantage of six errors from the Saints and scored runs in the first four innings to land their second win in District 7-1A play.

&uot;We swung the bats pretty well,&uot; Huntington coach Michael McAnally said. &uot;We hit the curveball a lot better than we have in the past. We’re trying to cut down on our misses. There’s a misconception that you have to swing the bat hard to hit the ball hard. We’re a better ball club than our record indicates. If we can swing the bat and score runs, we’ve got a chance to make a run at our district.&uot;

The Hounds were more consistent at the plate, but the errors from Trinity helped their cause at times. Clayton came with the bomb in the fourth inning to score Ples Arthur, who reached base courtesy of an error for a 6-2 lead.

Trey Keith later singled in Landon Yarborough for the final run. The Hounds got a run i9n the third when Keith reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second and came around to score on a error for a 4-2 lead.

&uot;What it boils down to is they picked the ball up and made plays and we didn’t,&uot; Trinity head coach Jeremy Loy said. &uot;It’s haunted us the last week. They hit the ball well, and we threw it around. We’ll be all right. Basketball season went long, and we’re kind of behind them now. We’ve got to get out team chemistry. We’re still working on that.

&uot;We’ve got some great athletes, and they’ll battle through this. Last year at this time we were 0-8.&uot;

The Saints scored their two runs in the first inning off Huntington starter Kyle Johnson but couldn’t get a hit after that. Johnson walked three and hit a batter after that first inning but stayed in control on the mound.

&uot;Kyle threw the fastball well,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;What I was impressed with was he did a good job of hitting his spots. He’s throwing probably around 80. His Achilles’ heel is not throwing strikes. He kept the ball down, and his curveball moved pretty well. We’ve got guys behind him that can make plays, and that was the case tonight.&uot;

Johnson had trouble at times throwing strikes, but give him credit for getting himself out of jams. In the second the Saints got a runner on second, but theHounds got an unassisted double play from Clayton to end the inning.

The Saints put a man on in each of the last four innings, but the Hounds made plays and didn’t allow any to get to second base. Johnson walked Gregory Ketchings with two outs in the seventh but got Sam Couvillion to ground out to first right behind him to end the game.

&uot;We’re still swinging the bats,&uot; Loy said. &uot;We hit the ball right at people. We were just hitting it right at people. We’ll fight through this, and we’ll be all right. They hit the ball well. Brandon was around the plate all night. They took advantage of our mistakes, and they didn’t make mistakes in the field.&uot;

The Hounds got a run in the first when Clayton scored on an error to cut the lead to 2-1 but scroed two in the second when Clayton singled in Cameron Ainsworth and Austin Butler for a 3-2 lead.