Zack Perkins crushes a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch in the Myrtle fifth. Photo by Dennis Clayton.
BY DENNIS CLAYTON
MYRTLE – Myrtle and West Union needed eight innings to settle their Division 2-1A baseball opener and the Hawks were able to scratch out a 5-4 win. With bases loaded, the Hawks scored on a hit by pitch to take the narrow win.
“It was a big win, it’s one of those that seemed like a marathon game,” Myrtle coach Robert Gordon said. “I know it just went eight innings, but I was thinking, man I don’t know how much more I can take. I was glad we scratched that run across at the end, but I credit their pitcher, he’s good, he’s really good.
Myrtle scored in the bottom of the first as leadoff batter Lane Bishop doubled and later scored to put the Hawks up 1-0. Dillon Kennon extended the Hawks’ lead to 2-0 in the second as he got the leadoff walk and scored.
West Union came back in the third to take a 3-2 lead as catcher Luke Willard reached on an error. Riley Bogue came on to as a courtesy runner. Cole Phillips reached and Andrew Childers was hit by pitch to load the bases. John Austin Taylor drove in one run and two more scored on miscues by the Hawks.
Myrtle came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie as Brandon Perkins led off with a single and was driven in on Jacob Kent’s RBI double.
Zach Perkins broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth as he ripped a home run over the left field fence. Perkins was 0-2 in the count when he launched his shot to left to put the Hawks up 4-3.
The Eagles tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the sixth as John Austin Taylor doubled and later scored on Hayden Basil’s RBI single.
Both team threatened in the seventh inning but two plays at the play left the score deadlocked. In the Eagle seventh, a bunt attempt to push across the lead run failed as pitcher Brandon tagged out the runner trying to score from third. Myrtle got the leadoff batter on in their half of the inning and attempted to score him from second on Dillon Kennon’s single, but Eagle centerfielder Cole Phillips threw out the lead runner at the plate.
West Union threatened again in the eight after getting runners aboard at second and third with one out, but Brandon shut down the Eagle threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
Bishop singled and reached with one out and eventually wound up at third with still only one out. West Union opted to load the bases to set up the force at any base, but Myrtle took the win as Zach Perkins was hit to drive in the winning run.
“It was a great game,” Gordon said. “It was a great game to be a part of win or loss, I told my kids that if we had lost, I would have still been proud of them.”
Both starters Brandon for Myrtle and Taylor for West Union went the distance in the contest and gave their teams a quality outing and opportunity to win.
“When we started the game, I felt like we were tight, but I really feel like it means something to this group and it’s the first real big game they’ve played and once we got over that hump, we really battled,” West Union coach Ashley Russell said. “Both teams battled and that turned into one of the better baseball games that I’ve seen in a while. I was proud of my guys, we had a number of guys that made plays. John Austin Taylor battled for us and really has become a good leader and did everything he could to win, I put him in a bad situation there at the end of the game, that one’s on me.