By TREY WILLIAMS
David Crockett senior Jacob Ayers was dealing against rival Daniel Boone on the mound and sealed the deal at the plate.
Ayers gave up one unearned run in four relief innings and concluded a two-run seventh-inning rally with a walk-off single as the Pioneers began Big Five Conference action with a 7-6 win against Boone on Monday at Warren Miller Park.
Ayers, who throws left and bats right, entered the game with seven hits in his last nine at-bats. He was 0-for1 with two walks when his one-out flare into right-center field scored courtesy runner Aidan Clark to end it.
“He was not due by any means,” Crockett coach Spencer Street said. “He did a good job kind of figuring out his swing in the offseason once he got done with basketball. He’s been leading us there. He’s been leading us on the mound.”
Ayers, relying a great deal on breaking balls, allowed two hits and two walks and struck out out eight.
“He has done a great job on the mound all year,” Street said. “He was great for us last year. We know he’s gonna compete when he comes out there.
“The moment’s never too big for him. I think he thrives in those moments. … He’s a senior and he embraces that role. He’s what we need.”
Crockett’s Noah Oster opened the bottom of the seventh with a line-drive double down the third-base line. Garrett Leonard advanced him to third base with a ground-out to second.
Ensuing batter Caleb Bradburn, a senior catcher, followed with a flare single beyond shortstop Brogan Jones that scored Oster to draw the Pioneers even.
Brenden Reid followed with a bloop single over second to put the winning run in scoring position for Ayers. Crockett piled up five runs in the first inning, but failed to get a hit in innings three through six.
“As the game went along we kind of got away from our approach,” Street said. “We came out with the right idea and we were fortunate enough to capitalize on a few mistakes. And luckily, the last inning some things kind of fell our way.”
Daniel Boone coach Scott Hagy said the Pioneers got some breaks, some of which came from a Boone team that committed two errors and misplayed a double during the five-run first.
“We’ll take weak contact all day long,” Hagy said. “This time it paid off for ‘em. There’s nothing else we could’ve done.”
Leonard started for Crockett and allowed five runs (one earned) in three innings. The Pioneers made five errors. “This was probably one of
the worst defensive games we’ve played,” Ayers said, “but we powered through it and we got a win. That’s all that really matters.”
It was the opening league game for Crockett (1-0, 4-1). Boone fell to 0-3 in the conference and 4-5 overall.
“It’s huge,” Street said. “They are well-coached. I know most of those guys from coaching in middle school football or just being around older brothers. They’re well-coached and they’re all great kids.…
“This is our first conference game. So to get one under our belt feels good.” Center fielder Griffen Jones was 1-for-3 with two
runs and an RBI for Boone. “Losing on a walk-off is bad for your soul,” Hagy said.
Daniel Boone’s powerful softball team began play in Gulf Shores, Alabama with a pair of victories on Monday. The Trailblazers won the
first game 5-0 against Geraldine High School (Alabama).
Maggie Hill got the victory, pitching five innings. She gave up two hits and struck out three. Macey Masters was 2-for3 with double and an RBI. Kyleigh Bacon was 2-for-2 with double and an RBI. Savannah Jessee, Camryn Sarvis and Riley Brinn each knocked in a run.
The ‘Blazers defeated Athens (Alabama) 8-0 in their second game Monday. Kaleigh Quesinberry got the win. She struck out seven and allowed two hits in five innings.
Savannah Jessee was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Bacon was 2-for-3 with double and two RBIs. Audrey Moorhouse also knocked in a run. David Crockett won 13-11 in a Big Five Conference game at West Ridge on Thursday.
Crockett had eight extra-base hits, including four runs. Austin-Peay signee Ashlyn Dulaney delivered a two-run home run. Crockett scored five in the top of the fifth thanks to consecutive homers by Marin Simpkins and Rhyne Massey. Simpkins was a grand slam.
West Ridge got within 12-10, but Sydney Hodges’ solo home run provided an insurance run in the seventh. Hodges was 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Simpkins was 3-for-5.
Dulaney, a catcher, and sophomore shortstop Addison Greene were each 2-for3. Greene scored three runs. Dulaney had three RBIs and
Massey drove in two. Cara Wilson pitched six innings for the victory.