February 28, 2012 8:47:00 AM
STEENS -- Baseball players and coaches at Hebron Christian have big goals for this season.
The Eagles want to win a district championship.
"Our expectations are really high this year," Hebron Christian coach Cass Tapley said. "We have raised the bar this year. We are in it to win every game we play. Anything less than a district championship will be a disappointment."
Hebron Christian showed flashes of its abilities Monday night, scoring in every inning of a 20-4 win against Immanuel Christian.
The Rams scored three runs in the home half of the fourth inning before the game was called due to the mercy rule.
"Tonight was a little different," Hebron Christian pitcher Ben Pearson said. "We thought their pitching was going to be a little bit better than that. We came out and had a good start and showed what we are capable of doing."
Pitching and defense are the Eagles' strengths. The veteran ballclub hopes to blend the returnees with a couple of talented newcomers to find the right mix on offense.
"This game got away from Immanuel early," Tapley said. "The main thing for us is we kept battling. We were still hitting in the last inning. You don't want to take your foot off the gas. You don't want to score a bunch of runs on somebody, but you also don't want to let down because you are up."
Hebron Christian (2-0) did just that in its season opener Friday night. The Eagles built an 11-run lead before rallying for a 13-12 victory against Houlka. Hebron Christian learned several valuable lessons from that game that should serve it well as action heats up next month.
"The offense is going to be a work in progress," Pearson said. "We feel like our pitching and our defense will be the best in the district. We need to work the kinks out before we can become a good all-around team. However, each day in practice, we get a little better. The attitude is good and we feel like we can get there soon."
Hebron Christian had no such letdown Monday night. The Eagles made the most of seven hits. Hebron Christian also capitalized on 10 walks, four errors, and 16 wild pitches. Nine of the 10 batters who walked scored.
"Getting off to a good start was important," Tapley said. "The team had a difficult team last year holding leads. However, this year, I think we will be a little better defensively and we have more guys we can turn to on the mound.
"So, hopefully, now when we have the big inning to start a game, we can do a better job of protecting the lead."
David Kinard led Hebron Christian with three hits, including two doubles, and four RBIs. Drew Myatt added a single, double, and three RBIs. Austin Foster had an RBI double, while Pearson drove in a pair of runs and had a single.
For the Rams (0-1), a three-run, four-hit fourth included a two-run single from Darius Jones, an RBI single from Perrin Smith, a bunt single from Dawson Shaw, and a single from Josh Davidson. An RBI double by James Wriley capped the Rams' five-hit attack.
"We lost one starter from last year," Tapley said. "We have eight regulars back. This group has played together for a while. They are real excited about the challenge ahead and the chance to have a great season."
Pearson threw the complete game with six strikeouts.
"I pitched a little more than I expected," Pearson said. "But things were working well and there was no need to mess up the rhythm. We are beginning to put this thing together. Winona (Christian Academy) is going to be very good, but we plan on giving them a run for the district title."
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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