Timely hitting made all the difference in Thursday’s Coastal Conference baseball game between Kellam and Tallwood.
The Lions left 13 runners on base, seven of them in scoring position, and scored no runs. By contrast, the Knights batters delivered when it counted en route to an 8-0 victory. It was payback for Kellam, which had been shutout just two days earlier by Tallwood, 1-0.
Kellam managed just two hits and one run through three innings on their home field, but its bats awoke for three runs in the fourth and four runs in the sixth.
“It was just all about the timely hit,” Knights coach St. Clair Jones said.
Tallwood squandered several opportunities. Its first or second batter reached base in each of the first five innings, and twice the Lions (5-10, 2-7 Coastal) loaded the bases with just one out, in the first and seventh innings, and came up empty.
Kellam (12-5, 6-2 Coastal) pitchers Andrew Melnyk and Garret Jackson came through under pressure numerous times with the Lions threatening. The sophomores combined to allow just four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts over six innings.
“Those were two sophomores and they hung in there,” Jones said. “They kept throwing strikes and got out of it.”
Center fielder Max Lipscomb scored Kellam’s first run off a wild pitch in the third inning. In the fourth, the Knights capitalized on scoring situations. Jackson’s RBI single scored Corey Leadenham, Logan Croley scored on a sacrifice bunt from Riley Leadenham, and Lipscomb’s RBI single plated Jackson to give the Knights a 4-0 lead.
Kellam first baseman Wyatt Brock broke the game open further in the sixth inning with a three-run double to right center that scored Corey Leadenham, Lipscomb and Matt Dalton. Brock later scored to give the Knights an 8-0 lead.
“That was a big at-bat,” Jones said of Brock’s double. “I knew if we got hot right there we could break the game open, so that’s what happened.”
Kellam out-hit Tallwood 11-6 and drew eight walks. Lions starter Nick Pawloski took the loss (three runs, three walks, six hits in 3.1 innings). Tallwood first baseman Armando Rivera reached base four times and had two hits.
“This was important for us,” Jones said. “Not only did we rebound from Tuesday, we also showed we can make an adjustment to changes in velocity. This young team is just trying to build and build confidence.”