March 2, 2011 9:22:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Drew Pellum and Hunter Bolin combined for a no-hitter Tuesday to lead the Starkville Academy baseball team to a 14-0 victory against Oak Hill Academy.
Pellum earned his first win of the season by striking out seven and walking one in four innings. Bolin cleaned up the fifth and final frame by striking out two.
The Volunteers (3-1) had six players drive in runs, and used a six-run first inning to take control.
Stephen Robertson went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, while leadoff hitter Kyle Henson had a two-run triple and scored three runs. Ian Tharp added a two-run double.
"It''s hard to win games if you''re gonna strike out a lot," Starkville Academy coach Neal Henry said. "Twenty-one outs is hard to get in high school baseball. We try to cut down on the strikeouts, put the ball in play, and make them make plays to beat us."
Oak Hill (1-3) was without pitcher Adam Tumey, who didn''t travel due to illness. Tumey was scheduled to start, but Clay Henley started in his place. Henley endured a rugged first start, allowing 10 runs on nine hits.
"They''ve got a good ballclub, and you throw a rookie pitcher out there with not very much experience," Oak Hill Academy coach Marion Bratton said. "You got a couple guys not here to help out tonight, you try to get by with what you got, you don''t make a couple of plays, you hit seven batters, your defense gets back on their heels. It''s what you get when you''re rebuilding, reloading."
The Raiders have one junior and one senior, and nine of their 19 players are eighth-graders. Bratton estimated the team had practiced just two weeks together following the completion of basketball season.
"This is not the ballgame you go to your bench, when there''s seventh-and eighth-graders and bring them in to get experience," Bratton said. "You just can''t do that; you''d destroy them. Sometimes you just got to look at the scoreboard, hope they learn from it, and grow up."
Starkville Academy''s performance on the mound was the perfect prelude to conference play, which begins Tuesday against Washington School.
"We were trying to get ahead in the count, change up our pitches," Pellum said. "When we get ahead, (we) try some breaking stuff. Tonight, the fastball -- the two-seam -- was working. The curveball, too. You got your guys back there, and you know you can throw anything up there."
Pellum''s pace -- he struck out seven of the first 10 he faced -- helped Starkville Academy at the plate, Henry said.
"When a pitcher throws strikes and gets ahead of people, it makes them put it in play and not walking people and making the game longer," Henry said. "It always helps us on the offensive end when you''ve got a pitcher whose got a rhythm and is getting in and out of innings fast."
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