April 24, 2009
HAMILTON -- Kevin McCartney''s solo home run in the bottom of the first inning Thursday got the Hamilton High School baseball team off to a good start.
The rest of the Lions did their part, too.
McCartney''s fourth homer of the season was the first of 12 hits for Hamilton in its 11-1 victory against East Union in six innings.
McCartney hit his home run to center field on the first pitch by Craig Bullock.
"I didn''t even get to see him throw, but (coaches) said he had been throwing real slow, so I went up there and just tried to wait back on it," McCartney said. "It was a fastball and I almost missed it. I just let my hands do the work."
McCartney was glad to get the offense started, but he credited his teammates for keeping it going.
The Lions (20-5) scored in every inning, with two more in the first, one each in the second, third and fourth, three in the fifth, and two in the sixth to bring the 10-run mercy rule into play. A double by Cody Crouch scored Chase Reeves to end the game.
It was more than enough run support for Dylan Earnest, who worked a complete-game four-hitter with 14 strikeouts.
Earnest (6-2) struck out the side four times on a night he didn''t think he pitched his best.
"I wasn''t really on," Earnest said. "They kind of helped me out a little bit by swinging at some high and away pitches. We took advantage of it and made plays when we needed to. I had a great defense behind me."
Earnest didn''t leave the offense out while passing out praise.
"The first thing I said was thank you for giving me support," Earnest said.
Even though Earnest might not have had his best stuff, it was enough to keep the Urchins off balance.
Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest knows East Union (18-10) has a reputation for playing better baseball.
"East Union is usually pretty solid, scrappy, and does things right," Earnest said. "I think Dylan just kind of overpowered them tonight. He really wasn''t throwing as hard as he normally does. He can throw a little bit harder, but he was effective."
Earnest allowed two singles in the first and two more singles in the sixth. The only run he surrendered was in the third when C.J. Armstrong reached on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bullock.
Crouch and Cole Gill had a double and single each for the Lions, while Reeves, Isaac Winders, and Austin Earnest had two singles each.
McCartney''s home run was his only hit of the game, but coach Earnest said it gave the offense a lift.
"When he''s patient, he''s got such good hands and he''s stronger than he looks," Earnest said. "We''ve still got to go up there and hit the baseball. We hit it a little bit better than I thought we would."
Hamilton travels to East Union for the second game of the series at 6 p.m. today.
Earnest said Reeves will start on the mound despite some shoulder soreness.
"With a little rest he should have a good outing," Earnest said.