March 30, 2013 11:24:25 PM
Matthew Stevens - email@example.com
WEST POINT -- If only the game of baseball could be as easy it is for New Hope High School's Will Golsan right now.
The right-handed hitting junior, who is batting .489 in the leadoff spot, has developed a simple approach when he steps in the batter's box.
"Swing at fastball and yeah, as hard as I can," Golsan said.
Golsan's approach helped New Hope complete a district week sweep of West Point High on Friday with a 5-1 victory. It's the same approach that has allowed Golsan to go 10-for-16 with five runs scored, three extra-base hits, and two RBIs in a 10-day period.
"We put him in that leadoff spot every night, and you know what, he's just coming up with two or three hits every time," New Hope coach Lee Boyd said.
Golsan proved Friday night he can mix some flash with his consistency, as he took a fastball from Tez Lane over the left-center field wall, the deepest part of the ballpark, for his first home run of the season.
"I hadn't hit a ball that hard all season, so no, I wasn't sure it was out, but I knew I'd made solid contact," Golsan said. "I know this sounds boring, but I feel like I should hit fastballs hard. That's my job as the table-setter."
With upperclassmen like Landon Boyd, Taylor Stafford, and Rooke Coleman in the middle of the order, Golsan's .549 on-base percentage and hits in 11 of the 15 games makes it nearly impossible for coaches to pitch around hitters.
"We took a round of batting practice before we came here to West Point just to remind the boys they are swinging the bats well," Boyd said. "We needed to play like we weren't going to let a heartbreaking loss at Oxford derail us. We did it very well tonight."
Golsan was key in re-generating New Hope's emotion after it suffered a heartbreaking defeat Wednesday night at Oxford High. After coming from two runs down in the seventh to take the lead, Oxford scored twice in the bottom half to steal a 7-6 victory, the Trojans' first district loss of the season.
"I think it took a lot for us to get over that loss," Golsan said. "We had to come to the ball park and realize it's a new day. We have a lot of chemistry on this team, and I'm happy with how we played tonight to respond."
The Trojans scored the first three runs in the third thanks to two errors and a hit by pitch that put Lane in trouble right away. Lane threw 126 pitches in 6 1/3 innings.
"We get another solid pitching performance and then have way too many strikeouts to stay in the game," West Point coach Buddy Wyers said. "We're just taking too many pitches and making too many mistakes to win ball games. It's a 1-1 game if we just play clean baseball."
After New Hope (12-3, 3-1) had three pitchers combine for nine strikeouts in five innings Tuesday in a 10-0 victory against West Point (3-10, 0-4), it received a complete game from junior JC Redden, who struck out 12 and allowed three hits (101 pitches) in his longest appearance of the season.
"What makes us so dangerous, I think, is we played three district games in four days and I still think we have enough arms to get through the weekend," Boyd said. "When you have that kind of pitching depth, you always are going to play and coach with confidence."
New Hope defeated Alcorn Central 9-1 on Saturday in a game that moved into the fifth inning before rain forced it to be called. New Hope's other scheduled game for the day against New Albany likely will be rescheduled later in the season.
Golsan continued his hot hitting with a single and a double. He also earned the victory, going four innings and allowing only four hits. He walked five and struck out five.
Landon Boyd had a double, Stafford had two singles and three RBIs, Tee Payne had two singles and an RBI, Parker Earhart had a double and two RBIs, Wells Davis had a single and two RBIs, and Austin Oswalt had a single.
n Caledonia baseball team loses: At Houston, the Caledonia High School baseball team lost to Houston High School 9-2 on Thursday in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A, Region 4 game.
Blake Burke and Trey Lancaster were 1-for-3, Caleb Brown was 1-for-4 with a run scored, Luke Eads scored a run, Jeremy Reed-Wood was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Nathan Kendrick was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Ryan Unruh started for the Confederates and went 2 1/3 innings. He allowed five hits and five runs (four earned). He walked two and struck out four. Chase Farris pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed two hits and two runs (one earned). He walked one and struck out one. Zach Cox allowed two runs (zero earned) on one hit in one inning.
n Hamilton baseball team loses: At Hamilton, Collin McRory threw a one-hitter Friday to lead the Amory High School baseball team to a 4-1 victory against Hamilton.
Hayden Evans' infield single in the bottom of the seventh inning was the only hit for the Lions (7-4).
Gage Morris had the Lions' only RBI in the first.
Austin Lewis started and went three innings for Hamilton. John Wesley Imel pitched 2 1/3 innings before giving way to Seth Dement.
n Central Academy softball team wins: At Steens, the Central Academy slow-pitch softball team scored in every inning Thursday to earn a 19-2 victory against Immanuel Christian School on Thursday.
Blake Rigdon and Neely Abrams had two singles, Kelsey Robbins had a single and a triple, and Paige Buchanan, Sadie Lindsey, Savanah Stapleton, Courtney Gaylord, and Kayla Brown had singles.
Cassie Campbell gave up three hits and had three strikeouts in the four-inning game.