Brookhavens 10-run second keys win over Trinity

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 31, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; What better way to send a wake-up call than to watch one of your childhood friends make you and your teammates look like they&8217;ve hardly ever played the game of baseball.

Ryan Vanderslice took it personal.

The scrappy Brookhaven Academy infielder had only a single Saturday when the Cougars struggled at the plate against Timmy Foster and Adams Christian. Vanderslice grew up in Natchez with Foster and other players at AC until he and his family moved to Brookhaven when he was in the second grade.

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The Cougars bounced back from a 12-strikeout day on Monday with a win over Huntington and followed it with a 15-1 win over Trinity Episcopal in four innings Tuesday at Chester Willis Field.

The Cougars and Saints meet again at 1 p.m. today in Brookhaven.

&8220;Timmy pitched a good game, but we didn&8217;t hit worth anything,&8221; said Vanderslice, who doubled and tripled against Trinity and drove in two runs. &8220;I think it helped us a lot. We got a lot closer from that one loss. His changeup was killing us. We had seen his curveball, but his changeup and curveball were killing us. They looked exactly alike.&8221;

Since that 6-3 loss Saturday, the Cougars had only six hits but put it in play enough to claim a 9-6 win over Huntington. A day later, the bats poured it on with 11 hits in four at-bats &8212; including eight in a 10-run second &8212; while the Saints made six errors on balls the Cougars (2-0, 5-1) put in play.

Now, it seems, Saturday was weeks ago.

&8220;We didn&8217;t swing the bats well against Adams Christian, but we still feel Timmy threw a great game against us,&8221; BA head coach Stephen Cooksey said. &8220;His curveball was breaking very well against us. Coach (Ron) Rushing is a good coach and had us scouted pretty well. But our kids can step it up for district play on most nights. They know how much is on the line and what to do to get to the next level.&8221;

The Cougars&8217; 10-run second indicated the bats were back, and it made for a long inning for the Saints &8212; who were hoping to do the same after their best offensive output Monday against WCCA. The Saints made four errors in that that second inning, had six for the game and dropped their third game in District 4-AA.

&8220;We took a step backward today,&8221; Trinity head coach Matt Mason said. &8220;We&8217;re a team that&8217;s trying to get over that hump. We need a big win to get over that hump, and we weren&8217;t able to get that win today. It&8217;s spring break week, and it&8217;s tough to get the kids ready to play during spring break week.

&8220;We don&8217;t have a leader on this team capable of getting everyone to step up. They&8217;ve got a lot on their minds and a lot of things they&8217;d rather be doing. Today it was apparent baseball wasn&8217;t one of them.&8221;

The Cougars put up two runs in the first off Trinity No. 1 starter Kolby Godfrey before things went south in the second. Kolby Byrd doubled in Vanderslice and Steven Covington for the first two runs and scored on an error, but Keith Franklin singled in two more runs for a 7-0 lead before the Saints could register an out.

Vanderslice later tripled to score Paul Davis and Seth Davis off Trinity reliever Parker Brumfield, and Byrd later deposited a pitch over the fence in right for a two-run homer for a 12-0 lead.

&8220;I think we were all just ready to get it and go,&8221; Vanderslice said. &8220;For the past two games after Saturday we&8217;ve been crushing the ball. We&8217;ve been coming through a lot. When one starts hitting, they all start hitting.&8221;

Brumfield &8212; who pitched two innings Monday against WCCA &8212; retired the side in order in the third before Jon Griffey came in to pitch the fourth. The Cougars got two walks off Griffey before an error on a Corey Dickerson hit in the outfield allowed Covington and Byrd to score and Dickerson to get all the way to third.

&8220;All nine of our guys swing the bat pretty well,&8221; Cooksey said. &8220;We need to be more consistent and play our game. We were a little late getting out because of basketball. I don&8217;t feel like that was Godfrey&8217;s best outing. I&8217;ve seen him throw some very good games.&8221;

The Saints had chances in the first and third innings but couldn&8217;t get the runs across.

They got their run in the second when Wells Middleton doubled with one out, went to third on an infield flyout and scored on a wild pitch.