Twelve run first inning leads Rebels past rival Wildcats

Published 8:38 pm Monday, March 6, 2023

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A disastrous first inning plagued the Springwood Wildcats in their 14-4 loss to the Chambers Academy Rebels on Monday in the first rivalry game of the season.

Chambers Academy head coach Dillon Nessmith was pleased to get the rivalry win.

“They’re excited to play,” Nessmith said.

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“They came out swinging the bats really well, which is something we’ve been harping on. I think we can play with anybody.”

As for Springwood head coach David Hudson, pitching caused him some headaches.

“When you can’t throw strikes and put yourself in a hole, it’s hard to climb out of,” Hudson said.

“I don’t want to give free passes to first base. You can’t walk. That contributes to a lot of runs. I’m proud that they didn’t give up, but it’s a learning process. We had a couple good innings on defense, we just have to hit better.  We have to get better at pitching.”

The Rebels came out firing in the top of the first with a three run home run from AJ Barnes after Wildcat pitcher Zev Starrett walked the first two batters.

Barnes was ecstatic to get a home run in his first game as part of the rivalry.

“I just told myself at the plate to see the ball and drive the ball,” Barnes said.

“We have to get up early in the run count. It felt pretty good to beat Springwood.”

The Wildcats pulled Starrett after another walks, and Joel Davidson took over on the mound.

Davidson walked two batters then Chambers Academy’s Eli Pritchard hit an RBI single to give the Rebels a 4-0 lead.

Davidson walked Kole Bake, which gave the Rebels a 5-0 lead.

Peyton Yerta hit an RBI single to extend the lead to seven runs, and Chambers Academy followed up with a Kyle Hand RBI single to make it 7-0.

Buster Coker followed up with an RBI double to make it 9-0, and the Rebels continued running around the bases.

Barnes hit an RBI double to bring Hand and Coker home, and the Wildcats finally forced their first out with a Grey Hayley.

Chambers Academy took a 12-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first, and Springwood put Ben Cooper on the mound.

The Wildcats woke up in the bottom of the first with their first run being scored by Eli Johnson after a walk.

Barnes had one strikeout in the first inning and helped the Rebels hold on to a 12-1 lead.

Cooper and the Springwood defense held the Rebels to no hits or walks in the top of the second, and the Wildcats were able to stop the bleeding.

Springwood’s offense couldn’t get going in the bottom of the second as the Wildcats had three field outs.

Cooper struck out Barnes to start the top of the third, but Chambers Academy freshman Grey Hayley hit his first high school home run to increase the lead to 14-1.

Hayley was thrilled to hit his first home run.

“It felt really good,” Hayley said.

“I have to keep my head down and help my teammates out.”

Cooper held the Rebels to no additional hits in the third, and Springwood’s offense improved in the bottom of the inning.

The Wildcats scored with a walk to bring Dallas Pearson home.

Springwood scored on an error to cut the lead to 14-4, but the Wildcats couldn’t keep the bats swinging.

Both teams couldn’t get any runs in the fourth or fifth inning, and the game was called in the fifth.