WSN routs Hillcrest in Area opener to stay unbeaten

Published 10:02 am Monday, March 12, 2007

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
Their inability to close out the game early on the mercy rule may have left a bit of an empty feeling, but that is about the only thing the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles baseball team failed to accomplish Friday when it opened the Class 4A Area 2 campaign with a 19-7 trouncing of the host Hillcrest-Evergreen Jaguars.
Although W.S. Neal (4-0) steamrolled its way to a nine-run lead of 11-2 after just an inning and a half, Hillcrest (0-7 overall and 0-1 in Area play) fought off the mercy rule twice and forced the Blue Eagles to go the distance.
The Blue Eagles began their offensive parade with a four-run rally in the top of the first inning despite the fact it had just one hit. That one hit was a huge one though, as Bobby Freeman capped off the frame with a two-run homer.
Earlier in the inning W.S. Neal got the first three of its nine free passes when Josh Sawyer and Jared Cooper walked and Jake Smith was hit by a pitch. A throwing error along the way allowed Sawyer to score and Jacob Cannon contributed a sacrifice fly.
Hillcrest cut that deficit in half in the bottom of the first inning when Jerred Thomas lined a two-run single off W.S. Neal pitcher Josh Sawyer to make it 4-2.
The Blue Eagles broke the game open in the top of the second when a seven-run uprising swelled the lead to 11-2. Smith and Cannon had the two biggest blows of the inning on back-to-back at-bats, as Smith had a two-run single and Cannon ripped a two-run double.
W.S. Neal had a chance to close out the game on the 10-run rule in the fifth inning. James Freeman singled, Cooper walked and Smith reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Freeman was forced home when Cannon was hit by a pitch to make it 12-2.
The Jaguars kept the game alive in the bottom of the fifth when a couple of hits with an error in between led to two runs against reliever William Shell to make it 12-4. It was the third inning of work for Shell, who picked up the win.
The Blue Eagles got two unearned runs in the top of the sixth to make it 14-4, but they were again unable to finish the game on the mercy rule in the bottom half of the inning. Kevin McCoskill hit a two-run triple with two out to make it 14-6.
W.S. Neal finally secured the double-digit victory in its last at-bat in the top of the seventh inning with a five-run rally. Smith and Cannon both singled and Bobby Freeman was hit by a pitch to set up a two-run single by Tyler Brown, a bases loaded walk to Tyler Nall and a run-scoring error on a ball hit by Shell.
At Hillcrest
W.S. Neal 470 012 5 – 19 10 3
Hillcrest 200 022 1 – 7 9 6

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