Red Devils whip Wildcats
JIM TAYLORAVON PARK - Avon Park's Kenny McGrath pitched a complete game in a 4-1 victory over Hardee on Tuesday night.
Published: February 22, 2013
Published: February 22, 2013
McGrath surrendered only four hits while striking out six to help the Red Devils improve to an impressive 4-0 to start the season.
"Kenny did a great job for us," said Avon Park baseball coach Whit Cornell. "He threw a complete game for us. Kenny has worked hard during the offseason to keep his arm in shape and ready to go for the season."
Alfred Brown got the Red Devils on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. He walked, stole second base and reached third base on a passed ball. He scored on a ground ball to shortstop to give Avon Park a 1-0 lead.
Avon Park's aggressiveness on the bases was key to its second run of the game in the bottom of the second inning.
Torri Pringle reached base after being hit by a pitch and stole second base. He reached third base on a fly ball to centerfield by Luis Martinez and scored on an error by Hardee's first baseman to make it 2-0.
Behind the strong pitching of McGrath, the defense played flawlessly as they shut down the potent Hardee offense over the next three innings.
"The guys behind him played a great game tonight," said Cornell. "That's why we are 4-0 right there. We're throwing strikes, playing great defense, putting the ball in play and using our speed on the bases.
"That's our game plan and so far we have been sticking to the game plan."
That plan came into effect in the bottom of the fifth inning as Avon Park increased its lead.
Brown walked and raced home on a double by Anthony Caruthers. Cody Pearlman came in as a courtesy runner for Caruthers, who was catching for the Red Devils. Pearlman scored on a double by Stevie Flowers to put the Red Devils on top by a score of 4-0.
McGrath gave up a solo home run in the sixth inning, but that did little to faze him as he went right back to work and shutdown the Wildcats for the remainder of the game.
"That's a good win," Cornell said. "Hardee swings the bats well, they are aggressive hitters and Kenny was able to get ahead. Late in the game we felt they were taking pitches to work the count and trying to get a walk, but he bore down and gave us a chance."
Avon Park only had four hits themselves for the game, but Cornell stated that he was not concerned about the hit production at this time. Instead he is concentrating more on getting base runners than base hits.
Though he would like to see more guys in scoring position driven in, they are utilizing their speed to manufacture runs.
"We are trying to win and they're buying into that," the Red Devil coach said. "If we continue to pitch well and play hard, I think we can have a great season."
Avon Park is on the road for a game at McKeel Academy tonight.