It’s hard to beat a team whose leadoff batter goes 4-for-4 and scores 4 runs.
Such a young man was shortstop Thomas Willis in Laurens’ 12-4 Region 2-4A victory over Wade Hampton on Tuesday evening.
Basically, the Raiders bashed the Generals: 12 runs off 12 hits, 4 of which were doubles by Willis, Zach Faulkner, Sulli Pinson and Austin McNuer. Laurens (7-3, 2-1 region) scored a run in the first inning, 2 in the third, 5 in the fourth, 1 in the fifth and 2 in the sixth.
Wade Hampton (3-9, 1-2) committed 6 errors, including 2 each by catcher Kyle Karandissevski and second baseman Jake Driggers. Still, 7 of the 9 runs charged to losing pitcher Wells Anderson were earned. He toiled – a particularly apt verb – 3-1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits and walking 3.
Kalob Hamilton, the winner, walked 7 Wade Hampton batters, gave up 3 hits and struck out 5. Two of of the 4 runs charged Hamilton were earned. Both teams used 3 pitchers. The Generals failed to secure so much as a hit off the pitchers, Preston Roberts and Austin McNuer, who succeeded Hamilton.
The box score was crowded: a Hamilton balk, a Hampton wild pitch, a Karandissevski passed ball and 6 batters hit by pitches, 5 of them to Wade Hampton batters who were going home sore anyway. The Generals’ 3 hits came from the 8 and 9 slots in the order.
LDHS third baseman Zach Faulkner went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Also driving in 2 were first baseman McNuer and right fielder Sulli Pinson. Center fielder Jack Yarbrough went 2-for-2 after subbing for starter Mason Hamby, who was injured, apparently not seriously, early in the game.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” said Laurens head coach Tori Patterson, “but we squared some balls up.
“We just can’t finish. When we need a couple runs to achieve the 10-run rule, we just can’t do it.”
Laurens once led Clinton 14-0 on April 1 before allowing the Red Devils to get within 3 runs before putting them away.
“That aside, we played well,” Patterson said. “We played probably the worst game I ever coached against Clinton at home. We still found a way to win. I guess that’s a good sign. We’re winning, so we’ll take it.”