May 29, 2009
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School''s summer team knew it was in trouble in the second game of a Dizzy Dean doubleheader Thursday when New Hope pitcher Jake Upton struck out four in the first inning.
Upton accomplished the feat when he threw a wild pitch on the third strikeout and then retired Blake Dawkins swinging to end the frame.
The Yellow Jackets could never adjust to Upton''s knuckleball and only got one hit in three innings.
"Those are tough to hit," Starkville coach David Lane said of the knuckleballs. "He pitched 11 innings against us in the spring."
The Trojans, who won the first game 4-1, won game two 12-1 in five innings to complete the sweep.
Upton worked twice against the Yellow Jackets in the high school season and knew how to approach their lineup.
"It was a mind-set of knowing what I wanted to do and did it," Upton said. "I knew how they hit and what they couldn''t hit."
Upton, Brent Younger, and Philip Tice combined for 10 strikeouts in the second game after Dillon Hawkins and James Clark struck out 11 in the opener.
"They kept putting different guys out there who were throwing pretty good," Lane said.
Hawkins had eight strikeouts, while Upton struck out five, Younger and Tice had three strikeouts each, and Younger had a pair.
Younger was glad to see his role out of the bullpen pay dividends.
"I''ve just been working hard," Younger said. "I knew I just had to come in and throw strikes."
New Hope coach Chris Ball has preached the importance of relievers, and he believed they did a good job against Starkville.
"That''s what is expected and what we demand out of our pitchers," Ball said. "We would rather (an opponent) get hits than give up free passes."
In the second game, New Hope staked Upton to a 3-0 lead before he took the mound in the first. He helped his cause with an RBI single.
New Hope (4-0) broke the game open with eight runs on six hits in the second.
"We''ve been rusty and haven''t been playing much, so hopefully the rust is wearing off," Ball said.
Jake Smith had two doubles to lead New Hope''s 11-hit attack, while Upton and Jared Shelton had a single and double each, Peyton Lee and Justin Davis had two singles each, and Dusty Dyson had a triple.
Blake Dawkins, Colby Runnels, and B.J. Findley singled for the Yellow Jackets.
n New Hope 4, Starkville 1: The Yellow Jackets left 11 runners on base and left the bases loaded twice in game one.
Hawkins pitched well for the Trojans and helped himself with a solo home run in the second to tie the score 1-1.
New Hope took the lead in the third when Upton drove in Tice with a sacrifice fly. He did it again in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Smith and Younger had a single and triple each for the Trojans (4-0), while Gabe Franks had a single.
Hayden HIgginbotham had two singles for Starkville (0-2).